Missing pensioner Denis Cato, 82, from Aldbourne, has been found safe and well more than 80 miles from his home in central London.

Police were told shortly before 5pm on Monday that Mr Cato, who suffers from dementia, had not been seen after leaving his home The Paddocks at 3.30pm to go for a walk.

By 7pm Wiltshire Police had become increasingly concerned for his safety as dusk approached with the prospect of a cold and wet night.

Insp Janine Chowney-Andrews said in a press bulletin at 7pm: “As time passes we are becoming increasingly concerned for his safety.”

By 8pm dozens of police officers and members of Wiltshire Search and Rescue were carrying out a full scale garden by garden search of the village with patrol cars checking all the lanes around the Aldbourne area.

Just after 8.10pm Insp Chowney-Williams said in another bulletin: “He has been located safe and well,” without adding where.

Villagers who were concerned for the elderly man’s safety were surprised to hear he had been found in London's Covent Garden.

Sam Edwards, Wiltshire Police press spokesman, confirmed that Mr Cato had been found by officers from the Metropolitan force.

Officers in the Met were aware the Wiltshire force were looking for a missing person whose description matched that of a man who had been found in Covent Garden.

London officers emailed a photograph to their Wiltshire colleagues who confirmed it was Mr Cato and it is that understood a member of his family went to London to collect him.

After his safe return his family declined to speak about the incident and Mr Edwards said police had no idea how Mr Cato could have found his way to London.

“It’s not clear how he ended up there,” the Wiltshire force spokesman said.

One neighbour suggested that perhaps Mr Cato had boarded one of the Marlborough-Swindon buses that pass through the village and found his way to Swindon station where he caught a train to London or he managed to get the Hungerford station and caught a London-bound train.

The police spokesman said: “We were told that he used to have family in London.”