'He has just got away with it' says victim of Leigh conman

Guilty conman Simon Hayes

Guilty conman Simon Hayes

First published in News

THE victim of a gambling addict who has been ordered to pay back just £715 of the £187,000 he conned from vulnerable people feels that justice has not been done.

Simon Hayes conned 76-year-old Harry Crook out of £40,000 which Mr Crook believed Hayes would use to purchase land but in reality, Hayes gambled the money away.

At a Proceeds of Crime hearing on Friday, 48-year-old grandfather Hayes was found to have benefitted by a total of £187,487 from his dishonest behaviour which spanned 12 years.

But as his only assets are a W-registered Mazda car, an X-registered VW Passat and £115 in a bank account he was only ordered to pay back £715.

Mr Crook, of Pennington Road, said: “I’m quite upset about it really.

"They say crime doesn’t pay but it has in this case.

“He has just got away with it. If he can’t pay back what he took then he should be given a longer sentence.

“He took my life savings and the savings of many other people and he should be punished for that.”

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

Geoff Whelan, defending, told Liverpool Crown Court: “Hayes admits he is a compulsive gambler and a lot of money he fraudulently obtained he had gambled away.”

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

Hayes approached his victims at their homes or in the 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 asked some of the victims – who he knew – for money to start a business or buy land but 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.

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