A wealthy faith healer who conned clients out of thousands of pounds while claiming to have paranormal powers has been jailed for 18 months.

Niem Mohammed, who owns an £850,000 house in Wilmslow, Cheshire, showed no emotion at Wolverhampton Crown Court as a judge described him as an "avaricious and deeply selfish" man.

Mohammed, 41, was jailed after being found guilty by a jury of three counts of fraud, seven of procuring a valuable security by deception and one of obtaining property by deception.

Among his victims - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - were a couple who could not conceive a child, a woman seeking the removal of a "black magic" spell and another woman seeking to trace her estranged son.

Mohammed, of Adlington Road, Wilmslow, nodded towards the judge as he was led away to the cells but showed no emotion as he was sentenced.

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Gosling accepted that the defendant's business had operated quite legitimately except for the offences he had committed.

But the judge told the father-of-four - who also practised palmistry - that his victims had "plummeted into despair" while he enriched himself and added humiliation to their pain.

The judge told Mohammed: "You targeted vulnerable and desperate victims with promises which you knew you could not fulfil.

"You did it with bogus advertisements and outlandish guarantees - you used a veneer of holiness to get them to pay large sums of money that they couldn't afford."

A two-week trial heard that some victims were encouraged to borrow money to pay for the services of Mohammed, who claimed to be able to lift spells, bring about reconciliation, resolve health problems and perform paranormal phenomena.

The jury convicted Mohammed by 11-1 majority verdicts and also cleared the self-styled clairvoyant of four other charges after three hours' deliberation.

He had told the jury that he had a gift passed down through generations.

During his defence, the faith healer sat on the floor of the courtroom and assembled a miniature fire pit on top of a silver table to demonstrate techniques he uses to meditate and pray.

The prosecution was brought by Sandwell Council's trading standards department after a detailed investigation into Mohammed's activities.

Sandwell Council's trading standards manager, Bob Robinson, said: "We are very pleased by the outcome of the trial and it proves we were fully justified in taking this action on behalf of people we felt had been duped.

"There were many people who were reluctant to come forward to help us bring this case, because of their religious beliefs and embarrassment about how it would be viewed in their community.

"The investigating officers have worked tirelessly to deal with the sensitive issues this case brought with it and should be commended for their hard work in bringing this to trial."