A ROGUE trader who faked the symptoms of a brain tumour to try and evade justice has been ordered to pay back more than £94,000.

More than half the money will go to the victims of David Mason and his gang of cowboy builders who preyed on vulnerable and elderly victims in York, North Yorkshire, Cleveland and Durham.

He is currently serving eight years and eight months for conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice.

If he fails to pay £94,019.93 ordered at an assets confiscation hearing, he faces an extra 18 months in jail.

Recorder Thomas Moran ordered that he had benefited from a criminal lifestyle and that he had that amount in assets that he must hand over. The judge also ordered that £56,072.59 of the money be paid as compensation to the victims.

North Yorkshire Council executive member for trading standards, Cllr 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.

“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.

When White was sentenced in 2022 at Teesside Crown Court, Judge Jonathan Carroll told him: “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.”

Mason’s fake claims that he had a brain tumour caused his first trial to be abandoned in September 2021 after it had been running for seven weeks, putting extra stress on the victims who had been called to give evidence.

Police and trading standards officers carried out extensive surveillance that revealed he was running a second-hand car dealership with his wife after the first trial and its CCTV showed he didn’t have the symptoms he claimed he had.

Judge Carroll said his claims to have a brain tumour were “complete and utter fiction”.

Mason, of Harlech Court, Ingleby Barwick, and three other men eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud  by charging householders for shoddy or non-existent repairs. Mason also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.