Eleven rifles, 42 explosives and 1,153 ammunition rounds have been lost or stolen from the armed forces in just a year along with 30 MoD computers and a quad bike
- 30 Ministry of Defence computers, 210 laptops and 80 USB sticks were taken
- Weapons stolen included rifles taken from a army cadet facility in Merseyside
- Campaigners concerned that these weapons will end up on market places
Eleven rifles, 42 explosives and 1,153 ammunition rounds have been lost or stolen from the armed forces in just a year and campaign groups have warned that the missing items could be used to commit crimes across the UK.
In one incident in Merseyside, eight rifles and 1,000 rounds of ammunition were taken after a burglary at an army cadet facility.
This is while two rifles were also stolen from a Reserve Centre’s permanent display and a separate incident saw a rifle being lost in deep water during a training exercise in Wales.
Most of the weapons are still missing and the report also revealed that items had also been stolen from the armed forces with some items being sold on online market places such as eBay.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that some of the weapons were stolen, while others were lost in military exercises (stock image of soldiers on a training exercise above)
Results from a Freedom of Information request published by Sky News also revealed that items taken from the armed forces included £1,000 in cash, a mountain bike, vehicle loading ramps and a quad bike.
The data set covered the period from 26 September 2018 to September 2019 and a spokesperson for the Gun Control Network said these items could be sold illegally.
The group, which lobbies for tighter firearm controls in the UK said: ‘We note from time to time weapons are reported ‘lost’ on training manoeuvres in the UK. I cannot recall ever seeing a report of the military recovering their lost weapons.
‘(They) go on to be sold, illegally imported, used in crime or hoarded by ‘gun enthusiasts’ in collections kept in homes, garages, stores and outbuildings.’
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) managed to track down motorcycle clothing and equipment which had been stolen, but had not managed to retrieve the other items.
The report also revealed that 210 laptops, 80 USB sticks and 30 computers that belonged to the government department were stolen between the same time periods.
Peter Laidler (pictured above) had previously worked as armourer for the Small Arms School Collection (SASC) at Warminster, Wiltshire, where the weapons were stolen from
The MoD said some losses could be down to errors and that ammunition is most often lost during exercises or operations.
Items of such calibre have previously ended up online, making such weapon available to criminal networks.
Speaking to Sky News the MoD said it takes security extremely seriously and that it has robust procedures to deter and prevent losses and thefts.
It also claimed that it also has precautions in place to ensure that devices cannot be accessed by unauthorised parties.
‘We have large numbers of devices right across the world, and whilst it is impossible to stop all losses, all incidents are recorded so lessons can be learnt and disciplinary action or prosecution taken when necessary.’
Just last month a former armourer and ‘fire arms enthusiast’ was been jailed for three years for stealing rifles and machine guns from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) museum.
Peter Laidler stole a SA80 – the Army’s standard issue automatic rifle – and components from which he made another rifle, as well as two Accuracy International L96 sniper rifles between 1998 and 2016.
The 72-year-old, who previously served as a police officer was convicted at Winchester Crown Court of four counts of theft.
MailOnline has contacted the MoD.
A Browning Hi power semi-automatic pistol (pictured above) was one of the items stolen by Laidler