A MAN who fought for the Croatian Special Forces in the Yugoslav civil war was found in possession of ‘serious weapons for serious offences’ when police searched his home, a court heard.

Marin Skarica, 44, of Lower Street, Stroud, was sentenced to a total of six years and eight months in prison at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday.

He admitted possessing a sawn off shotgun, a .320 calibre revolver, ammunition and a disguised Taser stun gun as well as being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Judge Michael Cullum was told that police attended the property with a search warrant related to the supply of drugs on September 8 but also found a cache of weapons.

Prosecutor Janine Wood said: “Nobody was home. They gained entry, and during the search they found a number of items. Most importantly, a sawn off shotgun in a carrier bag, which also contained dog food, in a cupboard under the stairs.

“A ‘taser torch’ was found in a kitchen drawer next to the washing machine, and a revolver was found in the lounge. Ammunition was also found.”

Mrs Wood said that police also found electronic scales on a coffee table in the lounge, and £540 in cash.

She said that the police force armourer tested the revolver and shotgun. Both were in working order. She told the judge that the shotgun had been separated into three components, and two cartridges were with it but not in it.

Likewise, there were four rounds of ammunition with the revolver but not in the weapon.

Mrs Wood said that Skarica and his girlfriend returned to the property while the police were present and he was arrested.

His mobile phone showed messages indicating that he was involved in the supply of cannabis, The prosecutor outlined some of the aggravating features of the case to the judge saying “If you buy a sawn off shotgun, it’s to be used in crime. The weapons had no other purpose but for the commission of criminal offences, either by himself or others.”

Skarica had “one previous conviction for a completely unrelated matter,” she said.

Skarica’s lawyer Lloyd Jenkins said “The defendant maintains that he met some unsavoury characters in the pub. The conversation turned to guns and he bought the shotgun and revolver, sold as seen, for £350.

“The taser was purchased for £20, in a curiosity killed the cat moment. He has always accepted that he was low level dealing in cannabis.

“He did not shorten the barrel. He bought the guns from men in the pub, sold as seen.

“He is a Croatian national. He was brought up around guns. In Croatia you are taught to shoot on a shooting range.

“He fought in the Yugoslavian civil war in Croatian Special Forces. He has now been in the UK for five years.

“He has never claimed benefits, always worked, mainly cash in hand. He only supplies cannabis to his circle of friends if requested.

“There is no evidence that the items had been used.”

Judge Cullum said: “At the age of 44 you have no relevant criminal history, and you pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. I also bear in mind totality of sentence.

“You had very serious weapons in your possession, with no real explanation before me. The sawn off was working. The handgun was working.

“They can only have been purchased for use in really serious crime, with a potential loss of life.

“There is no legitimate reason to have them. I am satisfied that you were going to use them for some unspecified future crime.

The guns were ordered to by forfeited and destroyed. The cash seized will go towards crime prevention.