Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie shows off a guided missile system launcher that was found discarded at the Hartland landfill last Wednesday (Sept. 4). Police say the one-time use weapon was just a “wartime souvenir” and was not operational.

Missile launcher found in Hartland recycling bin

Throwing a rocket launcher in a recycling bin at the landfill is not the way to get rid of military weaponry

The Capital Regional District has an online tool (myrecyclopedia.ca) that provides information on how to recycle unconventional items – but it has its limitations. If you want to dispose of a rocket launcher, for example, your search comes up empty.

So Saanich police are telling the public that throwing a rocket launcher in a recycling bin at the landfill is not the way to get rid of military weaponry, after somebody did just that last week. On Wednesday (Sept. 4) Hartland staff discovered the weapon in a bin at the dump.

“Their concern was that it may be usable,” said Sgt. Steve Eassie. “At this point it is inert, it is no longer housing what was once a rocket inside the missile launcher.”

Police surmise that the “Guided Missile System, Intercept,” which is roughly four feet long and weighs under 10 pounds, would have likely been used by the U.S. military from land to take down an aircraft in the 1960s or ‘70s. It was designed to be fired only once, according to police.

“It would’ve been used and disposed of. It was likely retrieved (after being fired) and kept by someone as a souvenir,” Eassie said.

It appears as if the weapon was modified to be hung on display, but it was no longer wanted and was discarded at the landfill.

“They could’ve disposed of it in a more appropriate manner,” Eassie said. “Should someone have equipment such as this in a collection at home, including other weapons that may have been rendered inoperable, the best course of action … is to contact the police department, and ask that they be surrendered for destruction.”

It’s not illegal to possess what he simply called “wartime memorabilia.”

Eassie is not sure whether police will destroy the rocket launcher, or if it will be turned over to the Department of National Defence to destroy, but he says it won’t wind up in another recycling bin.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

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