A Calne dole cheat who claimed he was unfit to work after a double hip replacement may have to sell his house to pay back £63,000.

John Snell, 67, claimed benefits when he was operating as a self-employed fencer for Chippenham Town Council and was getting two small work pensions.

Now Snell, who was put on a suspended sentence in January, may have to sell his home to foot the bill.

He appeared before Swindon Crown Court last on Thursday for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.

Judge Douglas Field ruled he benefitted from crime by £63,068.01p and made a compensation order in the that sum to be paid back within 12 months.

Chris Jervis, prosecuting, asked for the order to be made out to the Department of Work and Pensions saying they will then pay Wiltshire Council their share.

Snell, who is married, started claiming pension credit in August 2006, along with council tax benefit having previously got incapacity benefit. He was investigated by the DWP after they got a tip off he was operating as a fencing contractor.

When questioned Snell said he started claiming benefits when he was unable to work as a result of hip replacements.

Snell, of Heron Close, Calne, pleaded guilty to three counts of making a dishonest representation to obtain benefits.

Mike Pulsford, defending, said the claim had started when his client was laid up and he just failed to say when he was fit to resume work. He said he may have to sell his house to meet the final bill.

In January, the crown court imposed a 24-week jail term suspended for two years and told him to do 240 hours of unpaid community work.