Pensioner ‘who used Nazi tank as snow plough’ handed £213k fine but dodges jail

A German pensioner has been convicted of possession of illegal weapons after a court heard that he 'used WWII tank as a snow plough'.

The 45-ton Panther tank was part of a jaw-dropping arsenal that included a flak cannon and multiple other items of World War II-era military equipment.

The 84-year-old, whose name was not shared because of German privacy laws, was ordered to sell or donate the tank and the anti-aircraft cannon to a museum or a collector within the next two years.

He was also slapped with a suspended prison sentence of 14 months and ordered to pay a fine of 250,000 euros, around £213,000, the German news agency dpa reported.

The state district in the northern city of Kiel, on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, heard that the defendant's stash was found in a 2015 raid on his storage facility, as part of an investigation into black market Nazi-era art.

The search also turned up two bronze horse statues which once stood in front of Adolf Hitler’s chancellery. They were in another man's hands.

Authorities also seized machine guns, automatic pistols and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition during the raid.

It was not a secret stash, according to local media, who reported in 2015 that the pensioner even used the Panther tank as a snow plough on one occasion.

At the time, a debate arose as to whether the military collector has broken Germany's War Weapons Control Act.

This act regulates the manufacture, sale, and transport of weapons of war and basically states that anyone involved in such activity should have a license.

In court at the end of July this year the defendant's lawyers said that because the weapons are no longer functional, he did not break the law, RT reported.

Reports stated that the defendant would accept a lower fine of €50,000, but prosecutors argued that the weapons could still be used.

According to the defendant's lawyer, a US museum wants to buy the Panther tank, with militaria collectors interested in the 70 assault rifles and numerous pistols owned by him, Die Welt newspaper reported.

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