A NOTORIOUS fraudster who was dubbed 'King Con' after scamming hundreds of thousands of pounds from victims has struck in Inverclyde — swindling Ardgowan Estate.

Alexander Clark hoodwinked bosses into paying him a five-figure sum for windows that were never delivered and renovation work to buildings that was never carried out.

The brazen cowboy builder even lied about having a trading address at Greenock's Lynedoch Industrial Estate in order to make himself appear like a bona fide businessman.

Two senior staff members at the estate authorised a bank transfer payment of £12,000 to Clark on the strength of meeting him and receiving a quotation for the work to be done, Greenock Sheriff Court was told.

They never saw the 53-year-old scam artist again and were met with a blizzard of excuses whenever they contacted him about the matter.

Clark — who has made a career out of conning people — has fleeced hundreds of families of their savings during the course of the last 25 years and has been jailed on multiple occasions.

He is today beginning a fresh 27-month prison sentence handed down to him for the Ardgowan Estate job, and is also currently facing charges concerning five other alleged frauds elsewhere.

The heard how Clark carried out the scam at the estate between March and May in 2014 by pretending that he was an 'Andy Clark' of 'A&C Construction'.

Prosecutor John Penman said: "Extensive renovations were required at two dwellings on the estate and quotations were sought with regard to both properties.

"Senior staff were informed about a company that may be interested and were passed a mobile phone number.

"A male member of staff who was overseeing the renovation work called the number and spoke with a man who identified himself as 'Andy Clark'.

"The witness received a written quote from an A & C Construction for the supply and fitting of timber double-glazed windows.

"A male, identified as Andy Clark, attended the estate with a sample contract and met with a senior female member of staff.

"In March 2014 the stated amount of money was paid via bank transfer from Ardgowan Estate to the account provided.

"No windows were ever supplied or fitted.

"The accused was contacted on a number of occasions and he gave a number of excuses."

The court heard how the estate eventually called in police to investigate the matter in December 2014.

Clark, whose address was not given in court, pleaded guilty on indictment to inducing the staff members into transferring the money and obtaining £12,000 by fraud.

He had been originally charged with swindling more than £20,000 out of Ardgowan but the amount was reduced as part of a negotiated plea with the Crown.

Fiscal depute Mr Penman said: "In December 2014 a police emulator board was shown to the female member of staff and she positively identified the accused.

"It was discovered that the industrial unit put forward by the accused had never been rented to him.

"A search warrant was obtained for the bank account and premises in the Biggar area."

It was estimated in 2009 — when Clark was jailed for a near £100,000 banking scam — that that he had conned people out of up to £700,000 by posing as a builder.

Prior to that he was jailed for £250,000 worth of swindles from victims, who had in some cases borrowed the money to pay for work to their homes.

One victim used money from her late husband's life insurance policy to pay Clark £49,000 to build and extension to her home in 2005.

At Greenock, the court heard that Clark was recently remanded in custody regarding a catalogue alleged frauds and road traffic offences at Lanark.

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told him: "You seem determined to defraud people and lie to them and you have done that for a number of years.

"I am well satisfied that prison is necessary here."

Clark was told that his 27-month jail term would have been two-and-a-half years had he not pleaded guilty.