A SAS veteran has been jailed for possession of an Argentinian soldier’s pistol which he kept from his time serving in the Falklands.
Albert Patterson, 65, kept the 9mm gun in his cellar, but following his split from his second wife received a visit from the police, who carried out a search of the £400,000 property.
Officers found the self-loading firearm, as well as with other weapons and ammunition as well as “all sorts of paraphernalia” in the cellar of the house.
Following his arrest in November 2014 Patterson told police he wanted to keep the guns to remind him of life in the SAS.
At a previous hearing he had admitted possessing a 9mm self-loading pistol, four Enfield pistols, a gas self-loading rifle component part, five rounds of expanding ammunition and 177 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Patterson was jailed for 15 months on Wednesday. Judge Christopher Plunkett told the SAS hero: “In the wrong hands these weapons could lead to death of police officers or cause all sorts of mayhem.”
However, defending Paterson, Scott Coughtrie said: “He spent a great deal of time abroad protecting our country and our way of life, adding: “These weapons were never loaded or used in the UK and had never been in the public domain.”
Mr Coughtrie also told how Patterson had been preparing for the likelihood of custody by working on a project in Afghanistan in the Helmand Province with a local agency making sure they have electricity and water.
Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp criticised the sentence, calling for Patterson’s “immediate” release..
He said: “This is another example of our troops being persecuted by a government and courts obsessed with political correctness.
“An SAS hero who risked his life to defend our country shouldn’t be treated like a south London drug dealer.
“The country should be grateful for what he did.”