British troops in Kosovo test positive for drugs

LONDON, Jul 26, 2000 -- (Reuters) Eight British servicemen on peackeeping duties in Kosovo have tested positive for drugs, Britain's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

The troops, serving with the Commando Logistic Regiment as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo, tested positive for banned substances after supplying urine samples.

"There was a compulsory drug test conducted on June 19," a ministry spokesman told Reuters.

"The results were received recently which showed six Royal Marines returning positive results. Two (other) soldiers attached to the Commando Logistic Regiment also tested positive."

None of those involved were officers, the spokesman said.

"The individuals concerned were serving with the Royal Marines in Kosovo and I imagine they have been repatriated to allow for the matter to be investigated further," he said.

Drug testing is now compulsory in the British armed forces and there is a tough policy against those found to have breached the rules.

"We tend to operate a policy of zero tolerance for deliberate drug misuse which is well-known to all personnel," the spokesman said.

"It is not inconceivable to think they will be dismissed but I wouldn't care to speculate until the results of investigation are complete. Commanding officers do have discretion."

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