A pensioner in Germany has been convicted of illegal weapons possession after he was found to own an extensive personal arsenal including a tank.

The defendant, 84, has been handed a suspended prison sentence of 14 months and has been ordered to pay a fine of €250,000 (£213,469).

Officials found the tank and other World War Two-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.

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 Two (WWII).

The lawyer also said that a number of German collectors had approached the defendant over other items, which included assault rifles and pistols, local media report.

Local authorities raided the property in 2015 after receiving a tip-off about the building’s contents by colleagues in Berlin, who had earlier searched the home 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.

Local media reported that the man had been seen one winter using the tank as a snow plough.

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