Former world‘s fattest man – who now weighs 40 stone – denies he is a scrounger as he flies home to UK for £100,000 of NHS care because the US won‘t pay for his treatment
The former world‘s fattest man has denied he is a scrounger as he is set to return to the UK to receive £100,000 of NHS care – as the US won‘t pay for his treatment.
Paul Mason moved to the US five years ago seeking a new life, after an NHS stomach operation helped him to slim down from 70st to 19st.
However, the 58-year-old‘s weight soon started to balloon again, following a split from his America girlfriend, with his weight creeping up to 40st.
He is set to board a flight home today and says he understands why Brits have become irritated over him coming back to the UK to receive treatment.
Speaking to , he said: ‘I can understand people in Britain saying, ‘Why should my tax pay for him?‘
‘But I‘m no sponger — I deserve it as much as any Brit. I contributed to society when I was working.
‘We all fall apart when things get tough. Doing it over here in America has been the worst thing I could have done because there‘s no support. But there is in the UK.‘
He reportedly needs to surgery to replace his knees, repair eight stomach hernias and adjust his bypass.
In the 1980s Mr Mason weighed around 25stone and by the year 2000 his weight had ballooned to 70 stone. After going on a diet, a strict exercise regime and surgery he managed to get down to 19 stone in 2010. However, following a split with his girlfriend, his weight once again crept up to 39 stone this year.
He also needs mobility aids as well as counselling sessions.
Despite piling on the pounds and needed counselling sessions, he said that food gives him a great feeling and described it as being ‘better than sex‘.
‘You don‘t choose this lifestyle. The addiction never goes away. You don‘t conquer it. You can just keep it at bay.
‘You know when you orgasm you get a really good strong sexual feeling? It‘s like that, but contentment as well.‘
Paul Mason‘s fluctuating weight losses and gains
1980s: Paul weighs around 25 stone
1989: Was sacked as a postman for stealing money to pay for his snacking habits
2000s: Paul‘s weight creeps up to his heaviest at a whopping 70 stone
2009: Had a gastric band fitted
2010: He drops down to 19 stone following an exercise regime, diet plan and surgery
2013: Say‘s he has lost 46 stone in total, weighing in at 24 stone
2014: Paul’s care was costing UK taxpayers £100,000 – moves to the US for surgery
2018: Fined £200 for stealing
2019: He puts on weight following splitting from his girlfriend, weighting in at 39 stone
However Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said that bypass patients know they have to reduce their food intake and think more carefully about what they eat.
He added: ‘Paul‘s health problems are therefore his fault. The NHS should not be forced to clean up this mess.
‘It‘s pretty ripe of him to expect us to pick up the pieces. As far as I‘m concerned when he moved to America he forfeited his right to NHS treatment.‘
Mr Mason, originally from Ipswich, Suffolk, was 70 stone (445kg) at his heaviest and his battle to lose weight featured on TLC show World‘s Fattest Man.
But when he moved to Orange, Massachusetts, in 2014, he ballooned in size again from 19 stone (121kg) to 35 stone (222kg) despite having gastric band surgery.
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After being charged with stealing from supermarket and splitting from his fiancee, he now plans to return to the UK.
He wrote on his Facebook page earlier this month: ‘I need to return to the UK where I will be eligible for the assistance I need to get my life back on track.‘
In recent months Mr Mason has piled the weight back on, gorging on pizza and crisps all night following the split from fiancée Rebecca Mountain last year.
He now gets around on sticks and is desperate for a double knee replacement and an op to fix a herniated stomach staple which he damaged by over-eating.
He said yesterday: ‘After nearly five years living in the US, the time has come for me to soon return to the UK. I will go into more detail in the coming weeks and months/
‘But what I can say now is that over the years living in the US I made some wrong decisions which has led to some bad consequences.‘
‘Some of those being letting my visa expire, moving in with someone who was a bad influence and because of these and other choices I made, I‘ve put on weight.
‘I‘m now around 500 pounds, up from my lowest weight of 275. Looking forward, I need to return to the UK where I will be eligible for the assistance I need to get my life back on track.‘
After news of his latest allegation of shoplifting reached his hometown of Ipswich, residents were outraged at his plans to return to Britain.
A former neighbour said last year that the reality TV star was still allowing his circumstances in life to affect his weight.
They said: ‘To leave the country and come back just because we have a free NHS is wrong — although it‘s completely understandable why you would do it.
‘He should be looking not just at the weight but at how he thinks and feels so he can cope better when he‘s in a bad way.‘
Police in the US said Mr Mason was found with £175 worth of aftershave, perfume, phone charges and earphones in his shopping trolley in May.
According to Walmart security staff, he had tried to pull the stunt before.
A police officer‘s report, seen by The Sun, read: ‘Store security advised the male party, later identified as Paul Mason, failed to pay for the items he had in his basket totalling approximately $225.
‘I was further informed that they having (sic) been watching Paul as he has done this in past, as he fills up a basket and then leaves the store utilising a motorized cart.
Before moving to join Ms Mountain, an eight stone vegetarian, in Massachusetts in 2014, Mr Mason‘s care was costing UK taxpayers £100,000-a-year and an estimated £1.5million in total.
In a 2002 medical emergency, fire crews had to take out a window and brickwork so a forklift could take him out of the house and to hospital in a five-ton ambulance specially built for obese people.
By 2009 he needed a life-saving operation after putting away 20,000 calories a day, including three family-sized takeaway meals an evening.
Then in 2010 he had gastric bypass surgery that shrunk his stomach to the size of an egg.
In 2013 Ms Mountain ed Mr Mason after seeing a documentary about him.
The pair got engaged and in May 2015 he had four stone of excess skin cut from his body in a nine-hour procedure in New York.
The NHS had refused to do the £30,000 operation until his weight had been stable for two years.
Despite him getting down to 19 stone, the couple called off their engagement in September 2015.