A notorious fraudster who conned desperate homeowners has failed in an attempt to have proceedings to claim back more than £2m dismissed.

Edwin McLaren was today back at the High Court in Glasgow, where was locked up in 2017 for a £1.6m property scam following Scotland’s longest criminal trial.

The 58-year-old was representing himself at a confiscation hearing as prosecutors seek more than £2m from McLaren and his wife Lorraine.

McLaren, of Renfrew, had been sentenced to 11 years and was locked up in Castle Huntly open prison in Perth and Kinross.

He was convicted of 29 charges following a trial spanning 320 days.

The then Bentley-driving conman preyed on vulnerable people by arranging to have the deeds to their houses transferred to his associates without their knowledge.

Victims were left out of pocket and sometimes homeless to fund McLaren’s lavish lifestyle.

His 58-year-old wife Lorraine was jailed for 30 months in 2017 after she was convicted of money laundering and mortgage fraud.

A previous hearing was told that the “criminal benefit figure” the Crown now seek from McLaren is £1.72m.

The sum for his wife is £694,950.

A proceeds of crime hearing was set to take place next week.

McLaren told the court today/yesterday that he has been unable to collect a number of productions which are electronic devices seized from him in 2013.

He stated that by doing so, he is in breach of his licence conditions imposed upon him on his release.

McLaren said that he is only allowed to be in possession of one electronic device.

McLaren added: “It’s all very well the police finding these [devices] two weeks before the hearing.

“It was asked of the police and the Crown that these must have been somewhere.

“Now we are in a position that this will carry on another year of my life and my wife’s life – this should be dismissed.

“We have been at every hearing and did everything asked of us.

“This being found two weeks ago is reckless especially as it was in the Crown’s hands in this building.”

Judge Lord Arthurson suggested that McLaren seek legal advice and he replied that he would consider it.

The judge said: “It seems to be irresistible that the hearing next week should go off.

“I grant the motion for it to be discharged.

“I refuse the motion for dismissal as I am still hopeful this matter can go to a hearing.

“Time is required before the next hearing so legal advice can be obtained if wished to do so – I suggest they do and material be recovered.”

A hearing was set for November at the High Court in Edinburgh.

By Connor Gordon

Renfrewshire News Court Reporter

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