A conman from Tenby has been handed an eight year prison sentence after swindling £377,000 from friends and associates.

Sixty-two-year-old Darryl Evans, of Green Court Crescent, Tenby, had previously been found guilty of 27 counts of fraud and theft following a trial last month, before he was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Friday (January 6).

The court had heard that Evans had made bogus promises about investments to his victims, who had entrusted life savings, pensions, and equity from properties with the defendant.

Over the course of a number of years Evans took large sums of money off people he knew in the Pembrokeshire area, telling his more than two-dozen victims he was investing their money in high-performing companies - but unemployed Evans was just using the money to fund his lifestyle.

When Evans’ scam came crashing down, he claimed there were no records of the investments he had been making for his clients because the police had destroyed or concealed the documents. He also claimed many of the investors had given him money knowing he was putting it into a caravan park he was developing - even though he did not own the park and the council had refused planning permission for such a scheme.

Evans who had no previous convictions, maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.

Judge Paul Thomas KC said he would sentence Evans on the basis that he was refusing to say where the £377,000 had gone or what had been done with it.

“In over 40 years in these criminal courts, I do not remember ever dealing with someone as fundamentally dishonest as you,” said Judge Evans.

“You lied during the trial with a fluency which was almost breath-taking. The heart of your defence was your suggestion you were constructing a fictitious caravan park and people were investing in it.

“You outrageously claimed you owned the caravan site, which you did not.”

“Throughout the trial you displayed not one iota of remorse or even sympathy for your victims

“You continued to defraud people even after you were arrested and interviewed.”

Evans was sentenced to eight years in prison, and will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community. A proceeds of crime investigation will now be launched to try to identify where the money has gone.

The judge commended the detective work that brought Evans to the dock, especially the work of lead investigator Dawn Jones.

Paul Callard, manager of Dyfed-Powys Police’s economic crime team, commented after the defendant was sentenced:: “What Evans did was a gross breach of his friends’ trust. He lied about his profession to gain their respect and confidence, before taking their money on the agreement it would be invested for their benefit.

“While they thought they would profit from this investment, Evans was keeping the money for himself – although despite a number of financial investigations there is no evidence to show what he was spending it on.

“This was a complex investigation, exacerbated by difficulties in working with a number of complainants, and delays posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, our team was committed to getting justice for those involved, and this is an excellent outcome to end the investigation.

“I’d like to echo the judge’s commendation of Dawn’s work – her effort at every stage was exceptional, and has ensured the whole extent of Evans’ actions was brought to light.”