Falklands veteran jailed for keeping stolen pistol which 'reminded him of fallen comrades'

Patterson served 22 years in the Parachute Regiment Credit: SWNS

A Falklands War veteran who took an Argentinian soldier's handgun during the conflict and kept it at home to "remind him of fallen comrades" has been jailed.

Albert Patterson, 65, who served 22 years in the Parachute Regiment before joining the SAS, said he took the pistol in memory of 22 friends who died during the 1982 war.

The 9mm self-loading pistol was found by police at his home after his ex-wife accused him of stealing from her.

During the search, officers also found other weapons, ammunition and "all sorts of paraphernalia" in Patterson's cellar.

After his arrest in 2014, he told police he wanted to keep the guns to remind him of his working life in the SAS.

Later Patterson pleaded guilty to possessing the 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.

On Wednesday he was jailed for 15 months at Hereford Crown Court after a judge said parliamentary legislation left him with "little choice" but to send him to prison.

255 British military personnel died during the conflict Credit: PA

Patterson was also given six months in prison to run concurrently for possession of the ammunition and other guns and ordered to serve a year on supervised probation following his release.

Judge Christopher Plunkett told the SAS hero he had been "privileged" to see his service record.

He added: "In the wrong hands these weapons could lead to death of police officers or cause all sorts of mayhem.

"It is this risk that parliament is concerned about".

After leaving the SAS Patterson worked abroad for non-government organisations in Iraq and Afghanistan and now lives in Thailand.