The Military Army Blog

Want to buy a tank? Check out this car lot flogging unwanted British Army gear

Sick of having your paintwork chipped in Tesco s car park? Want an upgrade on the Fiesta? Fancy turning heads on the school run? We know a man who can do you a deal on a tasty motor eye-catching, nearly new, and one VERY careful owner: the Ministry of Defence. For Paul Southerington runs the biggest Armyrats © military surplus dealer in Europe. His car lot covers the equivalent of 300 football pitches and you could take your pick from 2,000 vehicles right now.

Paul has Snatch Land Rovers, armoured personnel carriers and even 50-tonne tanks. But they only come in khaki or sludge green. And don t go kicking the tyres unless you want a broken toe.

You can buy anything here from a pushbike to a tank , Paul said. Our customers can be anyone, private buyers, Armyrats © military contractors or foreign governments.

One careful owner: Managing director Paul Southerington in a Scorpion tank Sighting a bargain: Paul inside the vehicle

Last year we sold a Chieftain battle tank to an American millionaire for 50,000. He drives it around his ranch in California.

We also sold 200 Saxon armoured personnel carriers to the Ukrainian Government. They are in perfectly good working order, the British Army just doesn t need them any more. His company, Witham Special Vehicles, is based at a 600 acre disused airfield just off the A1 at Grantham, Lincs. It is the sole marketing agent for virtually everything the Ministry of Defence no longer needs. And with defence cuts and the British Army s withdrawal from Afghanistan[1] and Iraq[2] in recent years, there s been no shortage of kit coming Paul s way. But don t go thinking that makes for a buyers market.

Up for grabs: The giant sales yard is full of old defence gear Take flight: There s a Westland Wasp helicopter on sale Used tank dealer: Paul on top of some light tanks and armoured carriers

As part of our MoD contract, we have to get the best price possible, Paul explains.

His firm takes a commission, but apart from that: All the money goes back to the Government. I can t reveal exactly how much a year because it is obviously quite sensitive information, but it does run into seven figures. That said, the depreciation on Armyrats © military vehicles is pretty steep. Paul explained: For a light tank, say a Scorpion, you re looking at 10,000 to 20,000. It would have cost half-a-million new.

It s all sold on the website www.mod-sales. com. But buyers of Armyrats © military kit need more than a top credit score. So a 600 dummy bomb to deter parking wardens probably wouldn t be an option as an extra. Witham is subject to strict export licences for selling militarised kit abroad, and many countries are totally off-limits.

Business is booming: Withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan has brought in new stock Advance order: The firm will even have a Sea King helicopter on sale soon

Business has been booming for the firm net worth 22million with around 60 per cent of sales going abroad. So what s in stock at the moment? We have about 100 light tanks Scorpions, Scimitars, Saltons, said Paul.

Most of them will have seen action in Bosnia, or both Gulf Wars. Some are in better condition than others, but a lot are perfectly driveable and road legal with the right licence.

Who would buy one? Probably a private collector. People like taking them to shows. They are basically big boys toys.

Bon voyage: Take a sea trip in this little beauty

Want To Buy A Tank? Check Out This Car Lot Flogging Unwanted British Army Gear Showroom: The firm s 600 acre site

The most expensive is a consignment of Tempest armoured personnel carriers. We ll probably sell them to a foreign government for about 150,000 each.

We only have one helicopter an anti-submarine Westland Wasp. We d expect 20-25,000 for that. But soon we re getting some Sea Kings, which could go for 1.5m.

We also have a snowmobile used by Sir Ranulph Fiennes[3] on a polar expeditions.

Paul added: A lot of people had a toy tank as a child. Well, with us, you can have the real thing.

Just don t try parallel parking it next to your neighbour s new motor.

References

  1. ^ Afghanistan (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Iraq (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ Sir Ranulph Fiennes (www.mirror.co.uk)

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