SWINDON’S most famous star was in trouble with the taxman this week half a century ago.

A front page story began: “The Swindon-born actress Diana Dors (36), denied at London Bankruptcy Court today that she had been asking clubs to pay her in cash so that she could avoid paying tax.

“The suggestion was put to blonde Miss Dors, dressed in a blue and white check coat, by the Senior Official Receiver, Mr Wilfred Whitehead, during her resumed public examination.

“Since the last hearing on October 3 Miss Dors has married an actor, Alan Lake. He was not with her today.”

The sum claimed by the Inland Revenue was £48,000, a very large sum in an era when a fairly comfortable family house could be purchased for less than £2,000.

Our story continued: “Miss Dors agreed that she appeared at Titos Club in Cardiff in July, 1967. Her fee was £1,000 and she asked for cash because clubs, unlike film companies were unreliable.”

The actress also denied transferring a house in California to the ownership of her former husband, American comedian Dickie Dawson, so it would not fall into the hands of her creditors.

Diana remained married to Alan Lake until her death from cancer in 1984.

A celebrity in the news for an altogether happier reason was Swindon Town player Don Rogers, who was already a local star and would become a local legend the following year thanks to his storming League Cup Final performance.

By late 1968 he was more than famous enough to be a big draw at public events, and was duly chosen to switch on the Old Town Christmas lights.

An Adver photographer was there to capture the moment, during which the footballer was surrounded by local business luminaries.

We also ran a photo of the lights themselves, but the rather foggy black and white image inevitably failed to do them justice.

Swindon’s MP, Francis Noel Baker, would resign his seat the following year in order to tend a family property in Greece.

As Christmas of 1968 approached, however, he was still very much a constituency MP - and one who pledged to investigate after a constituent received a disturbing letter.

We said: “The letter came as quite a surprise for its reader, a Swindon businessman.

“Postmarked Halifax, Yorkshire, the envelope had ominous black writing above the address. It said that the contents were the ‘last will and testament of WG Gibney Esq.’

“It was a surprise, however, because the man reading it was...WG Gibney Esq - Mr William George Gibney. He was at first slightly amused at receiving his own will through the post.”

That feeling turned to anger when he read the contents, which were presented as having been written - after the writer’s own horrible death - by a person who had failed to buy a fire extinguisher made by a company called Nu-swift.

One paragraph ran: “I shall never forget the shattering violence of the the exploding petrol drums, the agony of those searing white hot flames, the acrid smell of my own burning flesh...”

Mr Gibney and his wife, Patricia, were so disturbed that they decided to contact Mr Noel Baker.

A spokesman for the fire alarm company said the advertising circular was the responsibility of an outside marketing company. That response is popular among businesses at the centre of scandals over ill-advised advertising material to this day.

In other news, Swindon station was the scene of a real-life criminal drama of a kind which continued for several more years and helped to inspire TV series such as The Sweeney.

“A massive police hunt was continuing in the West Country today following a tussle in Swindon for a girl between police and an armed gang.

“Detectives investigating a £20,000 Birmingham bank raid set a trap at Swindon station on Saturday night for the girl, who was expected to arrive there shortly.

“But the gang, three men and another girl, an 18-year-old blonde, were also lying in wait. As the girl arrived one of the men pounced on her from a dark Jaguar car. The police also grabbed her and won the tug of war.

“She is now in police custody.

“However, the other four escaped in the Jaguar, which was chased toward Bristol by police at 100mph.

“By changing cars several times, once by taking a Ford at gunpoint from the owner, the gang managed to evade their pursuers and the police road checks set up in Wiltshire, Bristol and Gloucestershire. As the wanted man leapt back into the car, it was driven straight at a police officer of No 9 (Metropolitan) Regional Crime Squad, Det Sgt David Clinch, who jumped aside.

“A sawn-off shotgun poked menacingly out of one of the car windows at the police.”

We ran a photograph of the abandoned and battered Jaguar - a favourite fast car of bank robbers at the time.