A newspaper delivery man has unveiled his ultimate collection of boys’ toys – a fleet of TANKS he keeps in his back garden.
Shaun Mitchell, 44, became hooked on military vehicles aged 18 and eventually saved enough money to buy a WWII Austin Champ army Jeep.
Since then the self-taught mechanic has restored a fleet of road-legal military vehicles which he stores in his back garden and drives through his local village.
Shaun’s favourite tank is his 8.1 tonne Sabre – one of the British Army’s fastest ever tracked vehicles – fitted with a rotating turret armed with a cannon and a chain gun.
Also squeezed into his back garden is a WWII truck, two Ferret Scout cars, an anti-aircraft gun, two armoured fighting vehicles and a tankette.
Single Shaun revealed today he is seeking a ”girl who likes tanks” after he split from his girlfriend of 12 years due to his unusual hobby.
He said: ”I get a thrill from working on something that’s totally different and the adrenalin pumps when you drive them out onto the road.
”It’s the smell and the whole atmosphere, people look at you and wave, everyone is interested in the vehicle.
”You don’t get all that from classic cars and you get a lot more for your money.People in the village think I’m a bit eccentric.
”My friends and family are happy because they love coming out in the tanks with me, although my last girlfriend didn’t really understand it.
”I would like to find a girl who likes tanks too. So many people conform, but why not own something a bit different?
”The expense is really as big as your pocket. You have to keep doing them up and swapping or selling them on.
”I don’t drink or smoke, I have no bad habits apart from the compulsion to buy military vehicles.”
Newspaper delivery man Shaun is a self taught mechanic and spends two days a week restoring military vehicles for a local tractor dealership.
Most of his military vehicles are stored behind his cottage in West Lynn, Norfolk, where his lawn and flowerbeds are regularly destroyed by his tank tracks.
Shaun’s restored Sabre is worth around £20,000 and boasts a 200hp petrol engine which can reach a top speed of 50mph and is road-legal.
He also owns a Self-Propelled Abbot, which is an armoured fighting vehicle with a fully rotating turret at the rear housing a 105 mm gun.
His other vehicles include a WWII 1945 GMS Bolster Truck, a Polsten 20mm anti-aircraft gun and two Ferret Scout cars.
He also owns a half-share in an armoured personnel carrier and a 1929 Carden-loyd machine gun carrier, which are both parked in his garden from time to time.
Shaun’s first armoured car was a Sultan CVRT commander’s vehicle with a Jaguar petrol 4.2 litre petrol engine, which he later swapped for the Sabre.
He added: ”I have all the stuff, uniforms, proper crew helmets with the intercom so you can talk to each-other.
”I take the vehicles to shows and from the spring I take them out every week into Kings Lynn.
”I store the parts in a shed in my garden and the vehicles are outside. In the garden I have left over I have a flower bed – but I keep ripping it up when I accidentally go over it in one of the tanks.”