TWO Yorkshire soldiers who smuggled guns out of Iraq to sell them to Army colleagues have been jailed.
Lance Corporal Michael White, 28, was given a 10-year sentence while Lance Corporal Anthony Creswick, 25, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years.
The soldiers, from the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, were involved in selling illegal pistols bought on the black market in Basra.
White and Creswick obtained pistols and ammunition on the Iraqi black market while on a tour of duty with their unit – which was then known as the 1st Battalion of the Duke Of Wellington’s Regiment – between October, 2004, and April, 2005.
Their court-martial was told that one theory was that the guns were brought back to Germany in the fuel tanks of Army vehicles and later recovered.
White described how the guns were smuggled into the barracks at Osnabruck in Germany, where the soldiers hoped to sell the weapons to other members of the unit.
A panel of six officers and senior NCOs, sitting at the military court centre at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, was told how White and Creswick produced a catalogue, with photographs, detailing the weapons available.
Prosecutors said that between May and July, 2005, White and Creswick sold four pistols.
During the six-week trial the panel heard White and Creswick became involved in a “business arrangement” with White described as the frontman and Creswick the quartermaster.
White, who admitted selling illegal weapons and ammunition and supplying cocaine, was the main prosecution witness.
Creswick was found guilty of three charges of selling prohibited weapons. He had previously admitted charges of possessing an illegal gun and ammunition.
He was acquitted of a further charge of supplying a Class A drug, which related to an allegation he traded a gun for cocaine.
A third soldier, Lance Corporal Brent Campbell, 24, from the same regiment, was jailed for 18 months after the father-of-two admitted buying a prohibited weapon.
The court heard he was planning to use the gun to threaten people who had been intimidating members of his family.
All three soldiers were dismissed from the Army.
At a hearing in December last year, three more soldiers from the 3rd Battalion were jailed and thrown out of the Army after admitting charges connected to the same plot.