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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 16:11 GMT
Soldiers jailed over guns racket
A British soldier with a gun
The guns were smuggled out of Iraq for sale in Germany
Two soldiers who smuggled guns out of Iraq intending to sell them to army colleagues have been jailed.

Lance Corporal Michael White, 28, was jailed for 10 years and Corporal Anthony Creswick, 25, given nine-and-half years.

Both men from the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, along with Lance Corporal Brent Campbell who bought a gun, were also thrown out of the army.

The Court Martial at Catterick Garrison in North Yorks ran for six weeks.

Lance Corporal Campbell was jailed for 18 months for buying a prohibited weapon.

Judge Advocate Colin Burn told White that peddling weapons within a military compound was "just about as serious as it gets".

The pair were involved in smuggling illegal weapons bought on the black market in Basra when their unit, then known as the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, was on duty in Iraq between October 2004 and April 2005.

The court heard one theory was the guns were brought to Germany in the fuel tanks of returning vehicles and later smuggled into barracks at Osnabruck.

The court, made up of six officers and senior NCOs, sitting at the military court centre in North Yorkshire, heard there was even a catalogue which included photographs and descriptions of the weapons available for purchase.

Drugs payment

The plot fell apart when other soldiers in the unit became aware of the guns being offered for sale and arrests followed.

White, who admitted selling illegal weapons and ammunition along with supplying cocaine, was the main prosecution witness.

He described accepting drugs as payment for two pistols. He then divided the drug into bags and sold it to other soldiers.

Creswick was found guilty of selling prohibited weapons, but acquitted on a charge of supplying a Class A drug.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "It's a shame that the good work of the battalion while in Iraq has been overshadowed by this on-going court martial."



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