A RESPECTED Abberley solicitor who stole money from a trust fund set up by a multi-millionaire friend to prop up his ailing legal practice has been told he must pay back more than £220,000.

Peter Perrey, a former partner at Reynolds and Co in Hagley Street, Halesowen, stole £329,750 from successful businessman Kevin McDonald, having looked after his financial affairs for 40 years.

The 79-year-old of Village Square, Abberley, was released in November after serving five months of a 20-month jail sentence for offences of theft and false accounting.

Perrey was back before Wolverhampton Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime hearing when he was told by Judge John Warner he must pay £228,070 within six months.

The money will compensate the insurance company which paid Mr McDonald on behalf of the Solicitor's Indemnity Fund.

The judge ruled his cottage home - bought in 2006 and valued at £225,000 - that Perrey shares with his third wife could be considered as one of his assets despite it being registered in her name.

Nearly £3,000 in two frozen bank accounts, together with £59 shares in HBOS and a personalised vehicle registration plate, should also be confiscated, said Judge Warner.

He said Perry was "not the archetypal fraudster" but added: "I must take into account that he has been involved, by his own admission, in a most grave breach of trust."

The court was told Mr McDonald set up a fund for his children and it was raided by Perrey, who forged documents to try and cover up his criminality.

Perrey made a number of withdrawals from the trust fund - ranging from £1,000 to £100,000 - and he used most of the money to try and keep his law firm afloat after it had been badly hit by the recession.