FIVE women preyed on by a serial conman are to receive miniscule compensation from the defendant, compared with the amount they lost at his hands.

All were duped into giving money to fraudster Andy Clark, who took advantage of their vulnerability with a series of made-up tales.

Clark, who met several of his victims through online dating sites, came up with a variety of stories as to why he was desperate for money, but always pledged that he would pay them back, as he was expecting to come into money within a short period.

Some of his victims took out loans to help to meet his requests, while he also plundered a trust fund set up to handle one women’s personal injury claim.

Durham Crown Court was told that although he reimbursed some of the money to one victim, the payments came to a halt.

Estimates as to the total amount that he conned the woman out of were put at almost £80,000, with approaching £50,000 of that from one woman alone.

Clark, 43, of Malvern Crescent, Darlington, admitted five counts of fraud and was given a six-year prison sentence, in April.

The court heard he had similar offences on his record, one of which led to him previously being jailed for 18 months at Stoke on Trent Crown Court.

Six months after he was jailed in Durham, he appeared again at the court via video link from Holme House Prison, at Stockton, for the culmination of proceeds of crime proceedings.

Prosecution and defence parties agreed he benefited from his crimes by £77,734.24, but his only realisable asset was the £3,172 raised from the sale of a commercial van.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said this would be split between the five victims.

Judge Christopher Prince agreed to the order and said payment should be made within 28 days.

During his sentencing hearing the court was told Clark’s activities often overlapped each other, as he was fleecing more than one woman at a time, using various pseudonyms, often just variations of his name.

One by one they came to the realisation they were being conned and eventually his actions were reported to police.

He made largely “no comment” responses to police questioning, although he did highlight the repayment plan drawn up to recompense one of the women, but he denied having stopped making those payments.