MoD police officer from Emsworth accused of handling stolen weapons has one charge dropped in court

Roger Smith outside Winchester Crown Court Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency
Roger Smith outside Winchester Crown Court Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

AN MoD police officer accused of handling stolen weapons has had one of six charges he faced dropped.​​​​​​​

Roger Smith, 61, of Bullfinch Road, Emsworth, an MoD police officer, is now charged with five counts of handling stolen goods.

The judge made a not guilty direction on a sixth count of the same charge against Smith during the trial.

Former Army captain Peter Laidler, 71, of Anson Close, Marcham, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, faces 11 counts of theft.

Laidler, who is also a former police officer, allegedly stole rifles worth tens of thousands of pounds between 1998 and 2016.

He was initially charged with two more counts of theft and another of handling stolen goods but Judge Richard Parkes QC directed a not guilty verdict on those during the trial.

Another former soldier, Stuart Pemberton, 52, of Temple, Corsley, Warminster, Wiltshire, is accused of one count of handling stolen goods.

The men deny all the charges.

A firearms dealer accused of handling weapons allegedly stolen from the Ministry of Defence by a former Army captain has been cleared.

Adrian Bull, 64, of High Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, was acquitted of three counts of handling stolen goods after a judge said there was no case to answer.

Closing speeches started today at Winchester Crown Court before jurors are expected to retire to consider their verdicts this week.