A TRAINEE soldier arrested for drink driving while on home leave for Christmas was found to have a live bullet in his pocket.

Blackburn magistrates heard Dylan John Barker also had a spent shell in his possession.

Barker, 18, of Plantation Street, Accrington, pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate, driving with excess alcohol and driving without a licence. He was fined a total of £532 with £85 costs and £38 victim surcharge and banned from driving for 12 months.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said police stopped Barker at 4.20am in Duke Street, Great Harwood. He admitted he was only a provisional licence holder and gave a positive roadside breath test.

When he was searched at the police station the ammunition, described as standard for UK armed forces assault rifles, was discovered in his pocket.

Barker told police he had picked up the ammunition at the firing range at Catterick Barracks and forgot to put them in the box where they were meant to go.

Ben Leech, defending, said his client had no previous convictions and was nearing the completion of his basic training after which he would be joining the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Mr Leech said before coming home for Christmas Barker had been on the firing range and at the end of the session had been required to collect up all the spent and unused cartridges. He said Barker had put one of each in the pocket of his uniform and not in the box provided.

“That is quite common place and for that reason there are a number of “amnesty” boxes around the barracks for soldiers to deposit any such cartridges,” said Mr Leech.

“When he got back to his quarters there was to be an inspection and he put the two bullets in the pocket of his civilian jacket, fully intending to put them in one of the amnesty boxes.”

Mr Leech said Barker could have placed the ammunition in an amnesty any time before he left the barracks but simply forgot.

“These offences are deemed very serious by the armed forces,” said Mr Leech.

“Ammunition boxes are put in place to ensure military life doesn’t spill over into civilian life and he will be subject to military proceedings.”

An Army spokesman said: “We can confirm that administrative action will now be considered. We are not prepared to comment further as this is an internal matter.”