Hefty fine on German for WWII tank at home

A pensioner in Germany has been convicted for possessing illegal weapons after he was found to own an extensive personal arsenal including a tank from the last World War that he was seen using as a snow plough one winter.

According to the defendant’s lawyer, a US museum is interested in purchasing the Panther tank. Many US historians argue it was the most efficient such vehicle deployed by Germany during World War II.

The 84-year-old defendant has been handed a suspended prison sentence of 14 months and ordered to pay a fine of 250,000 euros, according to a BBC report.

Officials found the tank and other World War II-era military equipment at the defendant’s house in the northern town of Heikendorf in 2015. The army had to help remove the items.

On Monday, the court ordered that the defendant, who cannot be named under German privacy laws, must sell or donate the tank and an anti-aircraft cannon to a museum or collector within the next two years.

The lawyer also said that a number of German collectors have approached the defendant over other items, which included assault rifles and pistols, according to reports.

Local authorities raided the property in 2015 after receiving a tip-off from Berlin. The house was earlier searched for stolen Nazi art.

It took about 20 soldiers almost nine hours to extract the Panther tank — which was without its tracks — from the property.