Lieutenant colonel faces the sack after becoming the most senior Army officer known to have failed a drugs test

  • Shamed officer, who is paid around £80,000, was caught at a base in Cyprus 
  • Test is said to have proved he was taking illegal steroid of Class C categorisation
  • It is unheard of for lieutenant colonel who served for decades to fail drugs test 

A lieutenant colonel is facing dismissal after becoming the most senior Army officer known to have failed a drugs test, the Daily Mail can reveal.

The shamed officer, who is paid around £80,000, was caught at a British Army base in Cyprus.

The vast majority of troops who fail Compulsory Drugs Tests (CDTs) are young private soldiers, lance corporals and corporals, the Army’s three lowest ranks.

Most commonly these inexperienced soldiers are caught having been persuaded to take cocaine or a cocktail of banned substances on a night out.

If officers suspect they have taken drugs, tests are arranged as quickly as possible, reducing their chance to flush the narcotics out of their system by drinking water.

For any officer to be caught taking an illegal substance is rare but it is unheard of for a lieutenant colonel who has served in the Armed Forces for decades to fail a drugs test.

A lieutenant colonel is facing dismissal after becoming the most senior Army officer known to have failed a drugs test, the Daily Mail can reveal (stock image)

The senior officer is now fighting to save his career. The recent test is said to have proved he was taking an illegal steroid with a Class C categorisation under the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act.

He is apparently claiming that he requires the drug as a painkiller. But, according to defence sources, the drug had not been prescribed by a British doctor and he is understood not to have declared he was taking it before the test.

Last night, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that administrative action was being taken against the lieutenant colonel, who is contesting the most likely sanction against him – dismissal and loss of pension.

Troops who fail CDTs may be granted waivers but only if they are particularly young or inexperienced, or there are significant mitigating circumstances and commanders are convinced they made a one-off misjudgment that will not be repeated.

While in recent years waiver protocols have been massaged to reprieve soldiers who the Army is eager to keep – for example when they possess skills and experience that are in short supply – it is considered highly unlikely that any exception would be made for a lieutenant colonel.

The shamed officer, who is paid around £80,000, was caught at a British Army base in Cyprus (stock image)

Last night one soldier said: ‘Junior ranks have been kicked out for taking Class C substances so officers should be too. Really committed soldiers were booted out for taking performance-enhancing “gym drugs” in recent years. They should have been retained.

‘An officer with his rank and experience should definitely have known better. It can’t be one rule for him and another for everyone else.’

An MoD spokesman said: ‘Administrative action for this case is ongoing and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

‘The Army does not tolerate drugs misuse by service personnel. Those found to have fallen short of the Army’s high standards face being discharged from service.’

Earlier this year it emerged that ten elite soldiers are facing dismissal from the Army’s new £120million high-tech unit, the Experimentation Battlegroup, after being caught taking cocaine in Cyprus. They failed drugs tests at their base.

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