No verdict in Army weapon theft case
A JURY has been unable to reach verdicts on a number of charges pressed against a former Army captain accused of stealing weapons from the Ministry of Defence.
Peter Laidler, 71, of Anson Close, Marcham, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, was on trial at Winchester Crown Court, where he was acquitted of nine counts of theft and one charge of handling stolen goods.
The jury was unable to reach verdicts on a further four theft offences as well as a count of handling stolen goods against Ministry of Defence police officer Roger Smith, of Bullfinch Road, Emsworth, Hampshire.
The 61-year-old was earlier acquitted of five charges of handling stolen goods.
A third defendant, Stuart Pemberton, 52, of Temple, Corsley, Warminster, Wiltshire, was found not guilty of one count of handling an allegedly stolen £50,000 sniper rifle.
And Adrian Bull, 64, of High Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, was acquitted of three counts of handling stolen goods after the judge said there was no case to answer.
The case has been listed to be heard at Salisbury Crown Court on January 31 to determine whether there should be a re-trial.
The trial heard that Laidler, who is also a former police officer, was alleged to have stolen rifles while he worked as the armourer for the Small Arms School Collection (the SASC) in Warminster.
The SASC is a Ministry of Defence collection showing the development of small weapons from the 16th century to the present day.
The defendants deny all the charges.