A CONVICTED north Cumbrian conman is to face a three-day hearing designed to strip him of his criminal cash - potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Mark McCracken served time in jail for a spate of high-value offending, including his masterminding of a huge “cash for crash” insurance fraud. The scam was said to be “truly massive” - potentially worth up to £600,000.

When McCracken was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court in 2019, prosecutors outlined how police officers had seized bundles of illicit cash in their searches of properties linked to the smooth-talking fraudster.

More than £77,000 was recovered by police during the raids,the court heard.

As he was sentenced, McCracken’s lawyer told the court that he wanted to put his criminal life behind him.

It has now been confirmed that a date has been set for a three-day hearing at Carlisle Crown Court which has been brought by Cumbria Police under Proceeds of Crime (POCA) legislation.

The hearing is likely to feature evidence which police say reveals the scale of the money McCracken earned from crime.

Some of that cash, according to prosecutors, was “laundered” - or hidden - by being invested in property.

The potential targets for seizure include properties in Wigton, Cockermouth, Maryport and Carlisle.

Police found key evidence for their investigation when they raided McCracken’s family home in Brindlefield, Wigton. In a secret cupboard, officers found documents which were used by McCracken to create 10 false identities.

As the evidence against him mounted, he finally admitted his guilt, pleading guilty to 11 counts of money laundering and perverting the course of justice.

The Proceeds of Crime hearing against him is scheduled to start on December 6 and is expected to be contested by the defendant.

At its conclusion, the judge will rule on how much he benefitted from crime and what assets are available for seizure. Judges usually also set a default period of jail for defendants who fail to hand over the assets demanded.