A SOLDIER’S service medal which went missing for 13 years has been returned after it was found on sale in an Afghan market.

And it was a Calderdale officer who had been deployed by the government’s Stabilisation Unit who recovered the medal.

Mick France, a former Lance Corporal with the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, was reunited with his honour after the medal was unearthed by Stan Bates, a superintendent with West Yorkshire Police’s Calderdale division who was working as a civilian adviser to the police in Afghanistan.

He said: “I regularly trawl the local bazaars in Kabul where India General Service Medals are not uncommon and, while doing so, one of my contacts showed me this medal.

“It was engraved with Mick’s name and unit and obviously had a story to tell.

“So, having bartered the price down, I purchased it and contacted the Duke of Lancaster’s Regimental Museum.”

The Regiment set about tracking down Mr France via its network of ex-soldiers and by using Facebook.

Mr France, 39, from Blackburn, Lancashire, said: “After speaking to my platoon sergeant I was amazed that my medal had been found in a bazaar in Afghanistan – a place that I never went with my regiment.”

How the medal came to be in Kabul remains a mystery.

Mr France was in the army between 1990 and 1999 and served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

Supt Bates presented him with the Northern Ireland service medal for a second time during a ceremony at the Regiment’s headquarters at Fulwood Barracks in Preston.

Supt Bates was deployed to Afghanistan last year to work with the Afghan Civil Police to establish a sustainable and effective civilian policing.