Former Leighton Buzzard soldier changes plea to guilty

Police on Bridge Street after the former solider had locked himself in his home

A former soldier, who was arrested after a five hour siege in Leighton Buzzard has today changed his plea to guilty of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Marc McLees, 42, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, sparked a major alert at his home in Bridge Street, Leighton Buzzard on the evening of February 5 this year.

He had denied a charge of communicating false information about a bomb hoax at the same time at an earlier hearing at Luton crown court.

Prosecutor Kevin West said that the new plea to the BB gun offence was acceptable and said he would ask for the bomb hoax charge to lie on the file.

The police had been called to Bridge Street after the former solider had locked himself in his home and began throwing things out of the window.

He made threats and police negotiators and an Armed Response team attended. After five hours he was arrested and the BB gun was recovered.

Defence barrister Will Noble said: "This case has an abundance of mitigation. Mr McLees had an exceptional military career. He has no previous convictions and his behaviour was out of character and somewhat bizarre. It is clear he needs help and assistance for post traumatic stress disorder."

He said Mr McLees was being helped by the Royal British Legion. The organisation is providing him with a flat, therapy to combat stress, education and training as well as financial support.

Since being remanded to Bedford jail, he had been an exemplary prisoner, said Mr Noble. Judge Barbara Mensah remanded him in custody for pre sentence reports to be prepared. It is hoped the case will be fully opened on 31 July.