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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Prison for elderly war tour cheat
Edward Portlock
Portlock will only serve four weeks in prison
A Royal British Legion official who cheated veterans out of a D-Day trip to Normandy has been jailed for eight weeks.

Edward Portlock, 73, of Dickens Close, Gloucester, took 2,228 from members who had paid for a battlefield tour.

He also stole six World War II medals which had been given to him by a veteran to be re-ribboned.

Portlock was jailed at Gloucester Crown Court on Tuesday. He is expected to serve just four weeks.

At the court last November, Portlock admitted three charges of theft, four of deception and asked for a further eight to be taken into consideration.

You failed to write to each victim and you failed to pay back the money
Judge Martin Picton

Portlock had been told he would be spared jail if he paid back his former friends within six months, but he failed to return a penny.

Judge Martin Picton told him he was guilty of an "appalling breach of trust".

"I gave you a chance to avoid going to prison even though, as I told you, you deserved that punishment.

"I hesitated to impose a custodial sentence because of your age and the fact that, in the current climate of prison overcrowding, courts look at ways to avoid locking away people who do not represent a danger.

"You failed to meet either expectation that I stipulated. You failed to write to each victim and you failed to pay back the money."

'Great bloke'

He said he was handing Portlock the shortest sentence he could, but that his crimes were such a serious breach of trust he would have to go to prison.

One of Portlock's victims, Roy Hodges, said everyone at the Legion had thought he was a "great bloke":

"He was my best mate and well, I was sucked in like everybody else.

"And I'd have trusted him with my life, let alone money."

He also said the jail term should have been longer.

Nick Fridd, defending, said Portlock had not been able to get a loan to pay back the cash because of the adverse publicity surrounding the case, and his age.

The friends who were betrayed by Ted Portlock

WW II tour cheat faces jail term
08 May 07 |  Gloucestershire
Battlefield tour 'will go ahead'
09 Nov 06 |  Gloucestershire
Legion man stole veterans' cash
08 Nov 06 |  Gloucestershire

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