A CONMAN who defrauded vulnerable people out of tens of thousands of pounds to finance his gambling habit was found to have benefited by £187,000.

But in a Proceeds of Crime hearing today, Friday, a court heard that Simon Hayes only has realisable assets of £715.

Hayes, of Henrietta Street, Leigh, was jailed for three years four months in March after admitting 21 fraud offences and four of theft.

Neil Fryman, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that after out-of-court discussions it had been agreed that Hayes had benefited by a total of £187,487 from his dishonest behaviour spanning 12 years.

However, his only assets are a W-registered Mazda car, an X-registered VW Passat and £115 in a bank account.

Geoff Whelan, defending, said: “Hayes admits he is a compulsive gambler and a lot of money he fraudulently obtained he had gambled away. He is a man of straw."

Judge Thomas Teague, QC, ordered the 48-year-old grandfather to hand over £715 within eight weeks or face a further 21 days imprisonment.

When he was sentenced earlier this year the court heard that he approached his victims at their homes or in car parks of retail stores between January 2001 and June 2013, claiming he would be able to get them white or electrical goods.

Money was exchanged but the items never arrived. He also asked some of the victims - who he knew - for money to start a business or buy land, however he never paid back the cash.

In total, Hayes conned £150,050 out of his victims, including £70,000 from a 67-year-old woman who was the sole carer for her son and in control of a large compensation payment she received for negligence in her son's care.