MoD police officer from Emsworth convicted of handling stolen weapons dodges jail

Pictured: Roger Smith outside Winchester Crown Court. Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency
Pictured: Roger Smith outside Winchester Crown Court. Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency
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A MINISTRY of Defence police officer convicted of handling stolen goods has been sentenced to unpaid work.

Shamed Roger Smith, 61, of Emsworth, was convicted in relation to an SA80 rifle, his trial heard.

He appeared at Winchester Crown Court today for sentencing and was given a 12-month community order, including 200 hours of unpaid work, the CPS said.

Former army Captain Peter Laidler, 72, of Marcham, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, was convicted at Winchester Crown Court of four counts of theft.

He stole an SA80 – the army's standard issue automatic rifle – and components from the weapon as well as two Accuracy International L96 sniper rifles between 1998 and 2016 from a MoD museum collection.

Matthew Jewell QC, prosecuting, told the trial that Laidler had worked as the armourer for the Small Arms School Collection (SASC) at Warminster, Wiltshire, where the weapons were allegedly stolen from.

The SASC is an MoD collection showing the development of small weapons from the 16th century to the present day.

Mr Jewell said: ‘The prosecution says that Mr Laidler stole weapons and parts of weapons belonging to the Army during his time working at the Small Arms School Collection.

‘We say he didn't have permission to take any of those parts or weapons or treat them as his own, but that is precisely what he did, in short form he stole them.’

Mr Jewell said that the two defendants had known each other for ‘many years’ and both had a ‘keen interest in firearms’.

Laidler will be sentenced at the conclusion of a further trial