A former soldier has been jailed for 17 years after being found with a cache of deadly weapons he smuggled back from Iraq in a tank.

Ricardo McKenzie, 35, of Telferscot Road, Balham, had hoarded guns including a Dirty Harry-style magnum, a Hungarian rifle similar to a Kalashnikov AK-47 and “expanding” dum dum bullets.

He  was found guilty of three counts of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life following a three day trial at Inner London Crown Court which ended on Thursday.

Prior to the trial he admitted a separate three counts of possessing a firearm and a further five counts of possessing ammunition.

The soldier enlisted in the army in April 2001 as a private in the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, 1st Battalion and was discharged on September 9, 2008.

McKenzie was arrested on October 28, 2011, after Trident police officers raided a house in Harpenden Road, West Norwood.

A Colt .45 self-loading handgun with ammunition and a Hungarian semi-automatic rifle were found, as well as 7.62mm ammunition.

Officers also found a Weihrauch Magnum revolver in his bedroom and more rounds of ammunition, after searching his house in Telferscot Road, Balham.

McKenzie told police the Colt handgun and ammunition were brought back as a collectors item from Iraq back in 2006.

He claimed they were brought back into the UK hidden inside a tank and then hid them in his army barracks before he left in 2008.

The private was sentenced to ten years for the possession of firearm offences and seven years for the possession of ammunition offences, to run consecutively.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Bruce, from Trident, said: "The conviction of Ricardo McKenzie is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by DI Chris Jones, Trident North-East Team and the CPS.

"It has led to the imprisonment of a dangerous offender and removal of three lethal firearms and ammunition from the streets of London, weapons which would undoubtedly have been used to commit acts of serious violence.

"Trident operations such as this one help to ensure that it is still difficult for criminals to obtain guns and that those who do are arrested."