HE STARTED his career selling Blackpool rock out of the back of a van -- but Albert Gubay built a business empire worth a remarkable £650 million.

Mr Gubay, now rated as the richest man in Wales, did his first business deal after receiving £80 worth of demob money when leaving the navy in the 1950s.

He borrowed cash, using his mother's rings as security, and used the cash to fill a van with rock in Blackpool before travelling to his native Rhyl to sell it off.

He branched out into other products and, in the 1960s, built up the Kwik Save low cost supermarket chain, which he sold for £14 million in 1973.

But, instead of relaxing and enjoying his wealth, Mr Gubay moved on to New Zealand and the USA, building up similar chains and making even more cash, before retiring to the Isle of Man a decade ago.

Mr Gubay isn't the only local success story to make his way on to the rich list. Blackpool Tower owner, Trevor Hemmings, has been touted as Britain's 64th richest man, with the list compilers suggesting a fortune of some £480 million.

The former brickie made his first fortune in the building trade, later leading a management buy out of the Pontins holiday camp empire.

Organisers say that Mr Hemmings' listed assets have taken a dip in the last year, but added: "we stick by our assertion that he could soon become a billionaire."

Owen Oyston and his family, owners of Blackpool Football Club, have wealth estimated at £90 million.

"Sales of radio station assets, his Life magazines and an estate agency chain have netted him at least £50m since 1987," said list organisers, who say he has largely been a recluse since his release from prison four years ago.

The family continues to support Blackpool Football Club, of which Owen's son, Karl, is chairman, with a new training ground set to be built on Oyston owned land.

A new entry to the list is 66-year-old Donald Sidebottom, chairman of the Blackpool-based Glasdon Group, who is said to be worth £36 million.

Fisherman's Friend tycoon, Doreen Lofthouse, also features on the list, and is credited as one of the biggest charity donors because of her support for several local causes.