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Aylsham businessman jailed

A man has been jailed for four years after he stole nearly half a million pounds from his elderly mother to pay off loans and fund his lifestyle.

Gary Woodley, 66, of Norwich Road, Aylsham and formerly the owner of The Forge and Aylsham Garden Centre, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and theft following a previous hearing at Norwich Crown Court.

The court heard how Woodley became a power of attorney, along with his brother, for his mother in 2013 in relation to property and financial affairs after 89-year-old Kathleen Woodley was unable to do this herself and was moved into a care home.

In February 2016, Woodley’s brother raised concerns and invoked his power of attorney after significant withdrawals of money had been taken from a number of the victim’s bank accounts over a number of years. In total Woodley stole £480,000 from his mother.

Police were informed and Woodley was arrested on September 15, 2016. He was subsequently charged on December 19, 2016 with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of theft.

Mrs Woodley sadly passed away during the investigation in March 2017.

Today (Thursday, October 11), Woodley was sentenced to four years for count one and 12 months for count two to run concurrently. A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation hearing will take place in due course.

Det Con Bridget Milne, from Norfolk Constabulary’s adult abuse investigation unit which carried out the investigation, said: “Gary Woodley abused the position that he held as power of attorney to his elderly, vulnerable mother. Instead of managing the victim’s money in her best interests and providing for her, Woodley used the money very much to further his own lifestyle.

“Norfolk Constabulary will continue to work with partner agencies to protect the most vulnerable members of our community from these types of crimes.”