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Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

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The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA
16:10 CEST+02:00
Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank.

The raid took place in the town of Heikendorf under the instruction of Kiel prosecutors, who suspect that the villa's owner held the weaponry in illegally under a law controlling the possession of instruments of war.

As well as the tank and the torpedo, several other weapons of war were found.

The Kiel prosecutor would not give The Local any details as to the specifics of the historical arsenal when contacted.

But a police spokesperson informed The Local that a torpedo had been removed from the building on Wednesday. He could not confirm whether it was a Second World War model. 

He also said that by Thursday afternoon they had still not managed to remove the 1943-vintage Panther, despite the Bundeswehr (German army) sending modern recovery tanks of its own - designed to haul damaged battle tanks off the field - to help remove it.

GALLERY: Haul of Second World War heavy weapons found in Kiel

Prosecutors were alerted to the existence of the weapons by Berlin prosecutors, who searched the villa for stolen Nazi art around a month earlier, the spokesperson for the Kiel prosecutor said.

But the villa owner's lawyer claimed that the tank could no longer fire its weapons and that he was therefore not breaking any law, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).

And for the mayor of Heikendorf, Alexander Orth, the find also came as no surprise.

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"He was chugging around in that thing during the snow catastrophe in 1978,“ Orth told SZ.

The mayor was not prepared to pass judgement on the villa owner, who is said to be in his 70s.

"Some people like steam trains, others like tanks,“ he pointed out.

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