A CONMAN who enjoyed a lavish lifestyle after stealing millions of pounds from businesses has been jailed for seven-and-a-half-years.

Simon Gold, 54 ran several estate agency businesses registered at Parade House in Trowbridge.

Among local firms he defrauded by bouncing cheques was DW Money in Roundstone Street.

Owner Dave Wyatt said: “He came in to cash a cheque for £300 and it bounced, after which he didn’t want to speak to us.

"He kept saying he would sort it but he never did, and the next thing we know he had moved to Ireland.

"It's good to see justice has been done, although all the businesses including us are still out of pocket."

The Irish Independent reported after two weeks of evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on 20 counts after deliberating for over 12 hours.

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on a single count of deception relating to €28,000 transferred by a Co Galway farmer to a bank account linked to Gold.

The report went ton to say that while passing sentence on Monday, Judge Martin Nolan said that Gold was a very intelligent man and that “these were devious and well-thought-out crimes”.

He said these were crimes involving “gross dishonesty”.

Judge Nolan sentenced him to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment for both of the counts of money laundering. He also sentenced him to three years in prison for each of the three deception charges for which he was convicted.

The sentences will run concurrently and will be back dated to when Gold first went into custody in May last year.