SEVERAL soldiers have been arrested at the Royal Artillery Regiment’s garrison at Larkhill near Stonehenge on suspicion of dealing the Class A drug cocaine.

The gunners from the Royal Artillery were taken into custody after Military Police raids on their accommodation last Tuesday.

Following the arrests, the Larkhill camp was locked down while other troops underwent compulsory drug tests.

It is understood that Royal Military Police officers accompanied by specialist military dog units swept through the base following a tip-off about drug dealing.

The soldiers suspected of dealing face certain expulsion from the Army if found guilty. Anyone who purchased the drug could also face court-martial.

Wiltshire Times:

Today, the Ministry of Defence confirmed last week's dramatic raids.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We can confirm that a number of soldiers from Larkhill Garrison were arrested by the Royal Military Police (RMP) on 26 April 22.

“As the matter is the subject of an ongoing RMP investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“We are not prepared to release any personal information about these individuals.

“We have a common law and Data Protection Act duty to protect the personal details of our people and there is no good reason to release personal information in this matter.”

The Army says it operates a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach towards drug-taking but junior soldiers with unblemished disciplinary records are often given a second chance.

Last night, a source at the base said: “It was a shakedown. The RMPs clearly had some good intelligence on what was happening and had come prepared.

“Afterwards, everyone was getting CDT’d. You couldn’t get off camp without being tested. Nobody was being let out otherwise.

“The officers are furious, the suggestion that their soldiers are dealing drugs when their backs are turned has made them livid.”

This is the latest drugs scandal to hit the Royal Artillery. Last year, ten soldiers from the Royal Horse Artillery, part of the same Corps, were booted out after failing drug tests. Those given their marching orders included two female soldiers.

The wider Army has suffered a series of drug scandals in recent years.

In 2021, a record 19 members of the 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, failed the same CDT after they had taken cocaine and cannabis.

Also last year, ten soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment’s 2nd Battalion were caught taking cocaine at the Cypriot resort of Paphos. They were confronted by drug testers on their return to camp.