An 84-year-old German man has been fined €250,000 (~US$ 300,000) by the local court in Kiel after a World War II tank was found in his possession during a raid in 2015. In his defense, the man claimed that he bought the tank and other ammunition as "scrap metal" from England, dpa International reported.
As per the German War Weapons Control Act, anybody intending to hold, manufacture, and even transport weapons of war needs a license to do so. After a tip-off about a potential Nazi-era military arsenal, German authorities had raided the 84-year-old's premises to find a treasure trove of illegal weapons. In addition to the Panther model tank, authorities found an 8.8-centimeter-caliber anti-aircraft gun, a torpedo, a mortar, machine guns, assault rifles, machine pistols, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. It took 20 soldiers over nine hours to remove the 40-ton tank from the property.
According to Associated Press, local media had stated that the man, proud of his collection, would also show it off and brought out the tank as a snowplow during rough winters.
The man, whose name has not been revealed in line with German privacy laws, defended his case citing that he had bought the tank as scrap metal and pointed out that without its treads, it wasn't even operational. However, the court held him guilty for possession of tanks and other weapons which are considered war instruments. After a four-month trial, he was sentenced to 10 months. But he still faces a €250,000 (US$ 297,000) fine.
As he cannot possibly keep the tank in his possession, he has to find a licensed buyer or must donate the tank to a museum within a period of two years.
It is still unclear how the man managed to move the tank to his property after it was purchased in England. Is it that difficult to spot a military tank?