An elderly man falsely claiming to be a hero of the famous Dambuster raids fooled a county Assembly Member, it has been revealed.

South Pembrokeshire AM Angela Burns was pictured last week welcoming a spitfire to Pembrokeshire for refurbishment alongside Eric Jephcott, from Pembroke Dock.

In the press release from Mrs Burns' office, Mr Jephcott, aged 84, was described as a "Dambuster hero" who had flown as a rear gunner in 617 Squadron legend Guy Gibson's Lancaster bomber.

Mrs Burns was quoted as saying: "Meeting Mr Jephcott brought home the true significance of the spitfire."

But, in fact, the rear gunner on Gibson's Lancaster G-George was Flight Lieutenant Richard Algenon Dacre Trevor-Roper, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after the raid.

Mrs Burns said: "This is rather a sad tale, but I was taken in by Mr Jephcott.

"The welcoming of the spitfire to Pembrokeshire was an important day for our county and it's a pity that his actions may overshadow the true heroes who flew during the war."

And it's not the first time that Mr Jephcott has claimed to be a Dambuster and been caught out.

In 2003, during the 60th anniversary celebrations, Mr Jephcott said he had been the rear gunner in the Lancaster O-Orange.

His story appeared locally in the Milford Mercury and nationally in the Welsh Daily Mirror.

But his daughter Heather Randell angrily disputed the story and revealed that her dad had actually been a market gardener during the Second World War.

Speaking to the Western Telegraph this week, Mrs Randell described her father as "a deluded old man".

She said: "Anybody could come up with a yarn like that, but it is a desecration to the men who did the mission and those who died.

"Don't you think if he was a Dambuster all eight of his children would be so proud of him?

"It's not being fair to the men who actually did the job.

"I don't think he actually ever picked up a gun unless it was at a fairground."

Peter Kraus, fundraising director of the Pembrokeshire Spitfire Aeroplane Company, who was pictured with Mr Jephcott, said: "I honestly thought he was who he said he was.

"It's the lowest of the low to pretend you are someone you are not.

"As a group we were going to send him a thank you letter for taking part in the picture."

When challenged, Mr Jephcott said he couldn't explain why his name did not appear on any 617 Squadron flight manifesto or why his daughter would question his claims.