A SOLDIER has been jailed for eight years after a collection of lethal weapons was discovered in the boot of his car.

Sawn-off shotguns, ammunition, grenades and acids and chemicals which could have been used to make bombs were found in Vincent Crockford’s Mercedes.

Chelmsford Crown Court was also told his laptop and iPhone had been used to investigate how to build bombs, silencers for weapons and how to adapt guns to fire different types of ammunition.

A copy of “the Anarchist’s Cookbook,” a Provisional IRA handbook and a recipe for a nitro-glycerine bomb were also discovered.

Crockford, a corporal in the Parachute Regiment, claimed he had been set up and the items had been planted as he had a number of enemies in his regiment.

But he was convicted after a trial on charges of possessing illegal firearms, possessing ammunition without a firearms certificate and possessing explosive substances.

He has been jailed for a total of eight years.

“This was a terrifying arsenal of weapons,” Judge John Dodd QC told Crockford.

The 28-year-old is now facing the prospect of being reduced to the ranks and dismissed with disgrace from the Army.

His barrister, Ian Bourne, said references from officers spoke highly of him, but his only real mitigation was his 13 years of service in the Army.

During that time he served overseas in Northern Ireland, Iraq and three tours of Afghanistan.

On his first tour, he was shot, the court heard.

Despite thorough investigations, no links between Crockford and any terrorist groups have been found, Mr Bourne added.