Former MOD policeman, 51, avoids jail after he was caught with a stolen SA80 ...

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Roger Smith, 61, was found with the SA80 assault rifle, worth hundreds of pounds, at his home

Roger Smith, 61, was found with the SA80 assault rifle, worth hundreds of pounds, at his home

A former MoD policeman today avoided jail after he was caught with a stolen rifle which had been built out of 'spare parts' from a military collection.

Roger Smith, 51, was found with the SA80 assault rifle at his home.

He worked alongside former British Army reservist and co-defendant Peter Laidler, 72, who made the rifle out of parts from the Small Arms School Collection in Warminster, Wiltshire, where he worked as the armourer. 

Laidler built the rifle for Smith out of 'spare parts' in 2009, and gave it to Smith without any official paperwork, Winchester Crown Court in Hampshire heard.

The court heard he told Smith, from Emsworth, Hants, that he (Laidler) was 'in charge' of the collection so had the authority to give Smith the firearm. 

Laidler claimed his employers had told him to 'dispose' of the spare parts.

The rifle was found at Smith's home in 2016. 

He admitted he had been using the rifle at the Longmoor Shooting Range with South Hants Rifle and Pistol Club for the past seven years.

Following a trial, Laidler was found guilty of stealing four firearms, while Smith was convicted of handling the stolen SA80.

Prosecuting, John Ryan said Smith should have known about the 'dodgy dealings' and not accepted the gun from Laidler.

He said: 'As an MoD police officer he should have been aware of the lawful manner of obtaining a firearm.

'Laidler presented him the gun and didn't ask for any money and didn't provide any official documentation.

Laidler built the rifle for Smith out of 'spare parts' in 2009, and gave it to Smith without any official paperwork, Winchester Crown Court in Hampshire heard. The court is pictured above

Laidler built the rifle for Smith out of 'spare parts' in 2009, and gave it

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