Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Royal Marine reservist admits firearms offences

RM base, Poole Image copyright Google
Image caption Shannon had the weapons as a reservist at RM Poole naval base, Dorset

A Royal Marine reservist has pleaded guilty to possessing an arsenal of weapons including an assault rifle, grenades and plastic explosives.

Martin Shannon, 43, pleaded to guilty at the Old Bailey to 15 charges relating to firearms and explosives.

The court heard Shannon, of Hayley Close, Hythe near Southampton, sold some of the weapons, which he took from RM Poole naval base in Dorset.

He was arrested following a covert operation by the National Crime Agency.

At the time of his arrest on 1 September, the agency described Shannon as "a significant risk to the public" but said there was no link to terrorism.

Martin Shannon's deadly arsenal

  • One assault rifle, one handgun, one sawn-off shotgun, one bolt-action shotgun
  • Magazines for ammunition
  • 1,400 rounds 9mm ammunition
  • 275 rounds 5.56mm ammunition
  • 118 shotgun cartridges
  • Seven high explosive grenades, three flashbangs (stun grenades), two smoke grenades, eight thunderflashes
  • Two day/night flares
  • One detonator with fuse
  • Brown ammo box with 5.56mm ammunition
  • Grey magazine clip
  • Bandolier with ammunition
  • 5in block of plastic explosive

Shannon pleaded guilty to transferring the assault rifle, pistol and sawn-off shotgun and cartridges.

The married defendant also admitted two counts of having an explosive substance, eight counts of possessing ammunition and one charge of possessing a shotgun without a firearms certificate.

He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on 16 December, following the preparation of psychiatric reports, after his lawyers argued he could be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Judge Richard Marks QC warned Shannon he could expect "immediate imprisonment".

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "We take the security of weaponry very seriously and have robust procedures to deter and prevent losses and thefts which are constantly reviewed."

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