Ex-Royal Marine avoids jail for bringing home live ammunition as Afghanistan souvenir
A former Royal Marine has avoided being sent to prison after bringing home rounds of live ammunition as a souvenir from his tour of Afghanistan.
When police discovered the war trophy haul at Thomas David Morgan’s home in Street he confessed it was ammunition he had for his own weapon while on duty.
And on his return to the UK and subsequent voluntary discharge he decided to keep some of it as a souvenir to show his grandchildren.
But when he appeared in the dock before South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates they were told his actions were now set to lose him a potential career for life working with a charity to support homeless ex-service personnel.
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In echoes of the case in November last year when SAS soldier Sergeant Danny Nightingale was jailed but subsequently released after bringing home a pistol presented to him by the Iraqi Army for outstanding service, Morgan also faced a possible five year spell behind bars.
The 24-year-old, of Cranhill Road, pleaded guilty to being in possession of 79 5.56mm calibre full metal jacket rounds without holding a firearms certificate on September 3 last year.
He was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work with £85 costs.
An order was also made for the ammunition to be destroyed.
Prosecutor Emma Chetland said Morgan was arrested in relation to a separate matter and his home was searched by police as a result.
“During the search the ammunition was found and when it was checked by a police armourer it was all found to be live,” she said.
“The defendant was interviewed by police and said he had kept the items as a souvenir after recently returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“He accepted he should not have done so and the penalty for this offence is a maximum of five years in prison.”
John Stokes, defending, said there was no sinister intent on Morgan’s part and the offence had already caused him a lot of upset.
“This offence was sheer naivety and he realises now the serious situation he has put himself in and has learnt his lesson,” he said.
The court heard that Morgan had joined the marines in 2006 and discharged himself voluntarily last year.
Probation officer Steve Cox said: “This was the ammunition he used in his own weapon while on a tour of Afghanistan and was something he wanted to show his grandchildren.
“Clearly he realises now the serious position this has placed him in and has potentially ruined a good job opportunity.
“After leaving the services Morgan obtained a job working for a locally based charity designed to help homeless ex-service people change their lives.
“Unfortunately now this offence has occurred it seems likely he will lose his job and he is quite upset about that.”