A Calne pensioner plundered near £25,000 in benefits he was not entitled to because he thought he was dying from a rare blood disorder and would never have to repay them.

Peter Dacre, 66, lied about his savings when he applied for pension credits and council tax benefit.

But Dacre, whose diagnosis was not as bad as first thought, said he just had modest savings when in reality he was sitting on almost £60,000.

Martin Steen, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court the first claim was made in 2007.

He said: "Mr Dacre had the misfortune of being diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, a cancerous condition, which he had come to understand would not only render him unable to work but lead to his imminent demise.

"In the end the diagnosis was over pessimistic."

At first Dacre said he had just £320 in savings and, when he had to submit forms in 2012, he said they totalled just £1,649.89p.

But during the whole period he had just short of £60,000 in the Britannia Building Society.

When he was confronted about the £19,395 in pension credit and £5,186 council tax benefit he should not have received, Mr Steen said he was frank with investigators.

"He said at the time he made the claim he was expecting his immediate demise and didn't think these chickens would come home to roost," said Mr Steen.

Dacre, of Lansdowne Close, Calne, pleaded guilty to three counts of making a false statement to obtain benefit.

Graham Bennett, defending, said his client had repaid both sums of money from his savings and was very sorry for what he had done.

Judge Tim Mousley QC said: "You failed to disclose the savings you had. There was an overpayment of nearly £25,000.

"I am going to impose a short custodial sentence but I am going to suspend it reflecting your guilty plea and the fact you have paid it all back."

He imposed a four-month jail term suspended for 18 months and told him to pay £80 in court costs.