A FORMER soldier suffering post traumatic stress after serving in Afghanistan was found with a heavy metal chain in his car, Worcester Crown Court has heard.

Christopher Hughes, aged 25, of Laurel Close, Southcrest, Redditch, told police he had the weapon, used in martial arts, for his own protection.

Hughes admitted having an offensive weapon in a public place and was given a 12-month community order during which time he will be under supervision from the probation service.

Judge Richard Rundell told him: “You have served your country, no doubt with distinction, and you have suffered for it.

“You need to access the support that is clearly available to you. It’s going to be a long haul.”

Adam Western, prosecuting, said Hughes, who was in breach of a suspended prison sentence imposed at Warwick Crown Court for affray, was stopped by police, who found a heavy metal chain attached to a steel bar in his car on July 26.

He told police it had been for his own protection and revealed that he was in a poor state of mental health.

He had served in the 3rd Royal Horse Artillery and had post traumatic stress disorder, leading to paranoia, after serving in Afghanistan, said Mr Western.

Diljit Bachada, defending, said Hughes had been receiving help from the Combat Stress organisation.

“The weapon was in the pocket of the car – he didn’t have it outside the car and wasn’t brandished at any person,” said Mrs Bachada.

“He now accepts it is unacceptable to carry a weapon of that sort.”

The judge took no action on the breach of the suspended prison sentence but said that Hughes must attend a reducing violence programme.