A SHAMED solicitor who created a fantasy client to fund his luxury lifestyle has been stripped of £426,414 of his assets.

Silver-haired Ian Macfarlane, 46, who has been struck off the solicitors' register, used his ill-gotten gains to pay for exotic holidays, school fees for his two children, property investments and his own tax bill.

Currently serving a three year and nine month jail sentence, Macfarlane admitted 26 theft offences and asked for a further 137 similar charges to be taken into consideration, involving over £800,000.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard yesterday how Macfarlane, who lived in a five-bedroom barn conversion in West Street, Winterbourne Kingston, had plundered about £2,000 a week from his employers over seven and a half years.

At the time of the scam Macfarlane was a partner in Blandford-based law firm Traill & Co, specialising in conveyancing.

Prosecuting, Brendan Moorhouse said Macfarlane had benefited by £1.5 million after opening a bogus Portman Building Society account in the name of Ian Revue.

Macfarlane siphoned clients' stamp duty into the bogus account for the same amount to "I Revue", instead of sending money to the Inland Revenue, which looked almost the same when scribbled on cheques.

His cover was blown after a company cashier became suspicious and alerted another partner.

Following his arrest Mr Macfarlane insisted Ian Revue was a real person and even gave police a full description of the fictitious character.

Defending, John Lofthouse said his client had co-operated with investigators and already repaid £916,099 to his former employers.

Macfarlane had suffered "the loss of his professional status" and had "legitimate assets" of about £650,000 before his offending began.

"Unless Mr Macfarlane is left with a substantial amount of assets he will have been stripped of the fruits of his legitimate earnings," he said.

Judge John Beashel said Macfarlane had used money stolen from the partnership to "feather his nest" and fund his lifestyle.

He made a £426,414 confiscation order and warned Macfarlane he would have to serve a three year prison sentence if he failed to pay up in two years.

Macfarlane was also ordered to pay £50,000 of his £150,00 defence costs.