A Suffolk conman who swindled vulnerable victims out of more than £250,000 after making "fantastical" claims has been ordered to repay them £163,000.

Christopher Webster, 43, of Marsh Lane, Carlton Colville in Lowestoft, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act on Friday, January 27.

Prosecuting, John Farmer, said Webster’s benefit from his offending was £458,700 but he only had available £163,000 assets.

Recorder Paul Garlick made a confiscation order for the sum of £163,000 and directed that the money should be paid as compensation to Webster’s three victims.

Webster was given six months to pay the order, with two years imprisonment in default.

Webster had been jailed for seven years and two months in July last year after he admitted three offences of fraud.

The court heard he had created more than 17 fake identities, opened bank accounts and created phantom law firms, with his actions leaving one of his victims around £1 million out of pocket.

John Farmer, prosecuting, told the sentencing hearing that Webster had made "fantastical" claims to his victims during the fraud.

One of the biggest frauds involving £231,000 concerned the friend of a retired surveyor from Lakenheath.

The victim was told that a neighbour of his friend in Lakenheath had been in prison and had obtained judgment against the Chief Constable of Suffolk for seven billion US dollars in an American court for wrongful conviction.

Mr Farmer said: "Webster was soon on the scene selling him fantastical propositions of huge amounts of money locked in legal proceedings in the US.

"Over time he was introduced to a whole cast of characters invented by the defendant with their own back story.

"They all allegedly had professional roles to play in this money recovery.

"There were masses of emails. Meetings were arranged but for a range of reasons often at the last minute cancelled and he never met anyone.

"The simple explanation was that there was nobody other than the defendant."

He said that between March 2017 and December 2020 the victim of the fraud made 237 payments amounting to £231,492 to Webster.

The victim had also incurred bridging loan costs of £106,000 and was forced to sell two houses at massive losses estimated at £1 million.

Another victim of the same fraud paid Webster more than £4,000 in response to requests to pay legal fees in pursuit of the "phantom" claim in the US courts.

The last of the frauds related to Webster falsely claiming that he would help the victim of a Bitcoin fraud to secure damages.

The victim paid Webster £40,000 between January to May 2020 in pursuit of the claim.