A FORMER councillor who embezzled the life savings of an elderly couple has been jailed for 18 months.

Gordon Beurskens, who was convicted of stealing £77,580 from retired businessman Jimmy McQue and his wife Nettie, was also ordered to pay £65,480 in compensation.

The 51-year-old, who was an Action to Save St John's Hospital member of West Lothian Council until he lost his seat in the 2012 elections, appeared for sentence at Livingston Sheriff Court after being found guilty by a jury following a three-week trial.

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The court was also told the Crown is seeking to recover £500,000 from him under Proceeds of Crime laws after experts estimated he had made £1.29million from criminal activity.

Beurskens was said to own two houses in West Lothian and deposited £280,000 in the bank from the sale of his Breich Inn business in West Lothian and a flat in Edinburgh.

Neil Robertson, defending, produced numerous character references to support his claim that his client was "a man of long standing diligence in public service".

However, Sheriff Kevin Drummond told Beurskens he had abused the trust and friendship of his victims.

"You have shown no remorse whatsoever for your actions," he said.