A dodgy North East builder who feigned having a brain tumour in a desperate attempt to avoid justice has been ordered to hand over £94,000 by a court.

David Mason would slur his words, walk with a limp and pretend to have significant cognitive impairment after his shoddy work enterprises finally caught up with him.

And 43-year-old was the ringleader of the unscrupulous gang of contractors who ripped off customers across Darlington, County Durham and North Yorkshire.

Justice finally caught up with Mason was he was jailed for more than eight years in 2022 and now he has had his cash seized to pay back some of the customers he had conned out of their money.

Mason and three other defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud 22 householders out of tens of thousands of pounds by carrying out shoddy repairs to homes between September 1, 2017, and October 18, 2018. On some occasions, work was not even performed, but victims were still charged.

Dodgy builder David Mason working in his second hand car garage just before he was arrested.Dodgy builder David Mason working in his second hand car garage just before he was arrested. (Image: North Yorkshire County Council)

On conviction, Mason, from Ingleby Barwick, was made the subject of a confiscation order.

Recorder Thomas Moran ordered that Mason must repay a total of £94,019.93, of which £56,072.59 will go to the victims in the case.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Mason was given three months to hand over the cash or face a further 18-months behind bars.

North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards officers carried out a complex inquiry into one of the most challenging cases which they have undertaken.

Officers embarked on a prolonged period of surveillance work alongside police officers to collect evidence that David Mason had created a web of lies.

David MasonDavid Mason (Image: North Yorkshire County Council)

Mason was shown to be behaving in a confused state, slurring his words and pretending to not understand questions, when he was taken into custody.

But the surveillance work by trading standards officials alongside police officers collated evidence that David Mason had created a web of lies after he feigned symptoms of the tumour.

Speaking after the hearing, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for trading standards, Councillor Greg White, said: “While the impact of the gang’s crimes will live with the victims forever, this order at least means they will receive some financial compensation.

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“What Mason and his co-defendants did was despicable, and he was rightly jailed. But this was not the end of the case for our trading standards team. Ensuring that he did not benefit from his wrongdoing was very important and I am glad to say we have succeeded in that endeavour."

At the original sentencing hearing, Judge Jonathan Carroll slammed the builder after he feigned a brain tumour to dodge justice.

He said: "This was a tragedy for elderly and vulnerable victims who were ruthlessly exploited, and the enterprise was established from the outset to take every penny available for extraction.

“Your offending was brutal in its callousness, with you laughing and filming the victims, mocking them and deriving entertainment from this.

“You fundamentally damaged the twilight years of your victims, with one victim almost driven to the point of suicide.”