A benefactor who gave gifts to hospitals and raised money for children's wards over a 40 year period turned into a council con man after his marriage broke up.

Joseph Elms, 59, of Moreton Way, Slough, had pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud last month and was sentenced on Tuesday to do 160 hours of unpaid work, pay £14,916 in costs and £10.437 under a confiscation order.

Joanna Staples, prosecuting at Reading Crown Court, said that Elms has benefitted from three right to buy schemes. The first was when he inherited the tenancy of his late mother's house in Pennine Road, the second was when he and his wife bought their council house in Devonshire Green.

When the marriage failed he applied for a council house without revealing he had a half share in another house with his wife - the sale of which brought him in £155,000.

Elms had applied for a council property without declaring a financial interest in the private home. He continued not to declare it despite being given a council home in Moreton Way which he applied to buy in 2017.

Jonathan Page, defending, said Elms had dedicated 40 years to fundraising for East Berkshire hospitals and children's wards.

He said: "His application for a council house was based on his marriage breaking up and an intolerable position he found himself in living with his wife.

"I would submit he is someone of positive good character, rare in this day and age."

Judge Emma Nott ordered that three years of discounted council rent should be returned to Slough Borough Council from the money in Elms' bank account frozen when the crimes were discovered. He was also ordered to pay £14,916 in costs as Elms only submitted a guilty plea on the first day of what was set to be his trial

After the trial Cllr Mohammed Nazir, Slough Borough Council's lead member for housing, said: "Our housing is for those in need and I hope this sentence and the fines imposed are a deterrent to anyone thinking of trying to defraud us."