THREE soldiers from a Yorkshire regiment have been jailed for plotting to smuggle guns out of Iraq.
The three were also dismissed from the Army at a courts martial yesterday.
A fourth soldier has been sent to a detention centre for six months.
All four soldiers from The 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of Wellington's Regiment) had pleaded guilty to charges connected to an alleged plot to smuggle pistols out of Iraq and sell them for cash. Lance Corporal Ross Phillips was jailed for five years and eight months after admitting possession of a prohibited weapon.
Private Shane Pleasant was jailed for five years and four months for the same offence.
Lance Corporal Ben Whitfield was jailed for two years and eight months for perverting the course of justice and Private Robert Marlow was sentenced to six months detention.
Judge Advocate Colin Burn said: "These are very serious offences.
"You four to a greater or lesser degree were at the end of a chain which started with the smuggling of lethal weapons out of Iraq for profit."
The regiment, which recruits extensively in Huddersfield, had been on a six-month tour of Iraq.
The soldiers admitted carrying out the offences last year. The panel of five officers from the Army and Royal Marines plus a judge advocate general heard how two soldiers not in court devised a plot to buy firearms on the black market in Iraq.
Colonel Nigel Jones, prosecuting, told the court martial that Lance Corporal Michael White and Lance Corporal Darren Creswick - who face proceedings next year - planned a "business arrangement" which involved buying freely-available guns in Iraq and selling them to colleagues at the battalion base in Germany.
Col Jones said: "They were going to buy small arms, specifically pistols, from various black market sources, that they would then arrange, along with third parties also in the battalion, to effectively smuggle these weapons on or in battalion vehicles back to the unit's base.
"They were then going to sell these pistols and sell that ammunition to other members of their unit.
"The motive for undertaking this business arrangement was simple - money. They realised that pistols and other small arms could be bought very easily in Iraq.
"Availability in Germany was not so easy, therefore they could make a tidy profit."
The court martial was told the two men are due to face hearings next year and the panel was told L/Cpl Creswick vehemently denies any involvement in the case.