A British man who used to describe himself as the ‘world’s fattest’ has revealed he is moving back to the UK from the US so he can claim benefits again.
Paul Mason, 59, was 70 stone (980lb) at his heaviest and once branded himself the heaviest person on the planet.
He moved to Massachusetts, USA, in 2014, where he ballooned in size from 19 stone (275lb) to 35 stone (500lb) despite having gastric band surgery.
After being charged with stealing from supermarket Walmart and splitting from his fiancee, Mr Mason has told his followers he plans to return to Britain to ‘get his life back on track’.
He wrote today: ‘I need to return to the UK where I will be eligible for the assistance I need to get my life back on track.’
Pictured: Former world’s fattest man Paul Mason is pictured on This Morning in 2013
Mr Mason (pictured as part of a documentary called Worlds Fattest Man, moved to Massachusetts, USA, in 2014, where he ballooned in size from 19 stone (275lb) to 35 stone (500lb) despite having gastric band surgery
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 posted online today: ‘After nearly 5 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.’
Mr Mason, who used to be a postal worker, added: ‘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 shoplifting reached his hometown of Ipswich, Suffolk, residents were outraged at his plans to return to Britain.
Paul Mason, 59, is planning to return back to the UK after nearly five years living in the USA
A former neighbour said last year that the reality TV star is 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 cart’s 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.
Mr Mason wrote online today: He wrote today: ‘I need to return to the UK where I will be eligible for the assistance I need to get my life back on track.’
‘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 Orange, 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 contacted Mr Mason after seeing a documentary about his plight.
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 op until his weight had been stable for two years.
Despite him getting down to 19stone, the couple called off their engagement in September 2015.
Mr Mason is pictured with his ex-fiancee Rebecca Mountain