Ex-marine jailed over smuggling sniper sights to Iran

A former Royal Marine from Lincolnshire has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for attempting to export telescopic sniper sights to Iran.

Andrew Faulkner, 42, of Spalding, pleaded guilty to being involved in the exportation of controlled goods at Southwark Crown Court in London.

He was arrested after a shipment of 100 sights was intercepted at Heathrow Airport in February last year.

Faulkner had been due to be paid about £10,000 for his role.

Sentencing him, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith told Faulkner: "You put your own financial needs ahead of your responsibilities to your past and future colleagues in the Armed Forces."

Security consultant

The high-spec German-manufactured Schmidt and Bender sights, purchased for about £105,000, were due to be sold on for a profit of nearly £60,000.

Faulkner, who has worked as a security consultant and bodyguard since leaving the marines in 2000, linked up with Italian Alessandro Bon - who is facing separate charges in Italy - after meeting him while working in Dubai.

Prosecutor David Hewitt said: "It seems that in 2008 Alessandro Bon explored the possibility of exporting from the UK.

"The Crown suggest that this was done to lend an air of legitimacy to this business. It appears that he recruited the defendant to assist him."

Correspondence uncovered

Faulkner initially denied being aware that the consignment, labelled as hunting rifle scopes, was destined for Iran, via Dubai.

But he later admitted knowledge in a police interview after e-mail correspondence between himself and Bon was uncovered.

Mr Hewitt said Faulkner did not have a licence to export the scopes.

Their distribution is restricted to protect troops from militia attacks, the court heard.

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