Richard Moore fears exit from EU could affect his Fenland business buying and selling scud launchers and North Korean plane parts

Scud launcher arriving in March

Scud launcher arriving in March - Credit: Archant

March businessman Richard Moore fears a vote to leave the EU in next month’s referendum will force him to either close or relocate his weaponry business.

Mr Moore operates a specialist firm in the town trading from Eastern and Central Europe and exporting to other Western European countries.

His firm recently sent Russian artillery pieces used by the North Korean army to South Korea for evaluation.

Low loader trucks often pass through March with strange army vehicles and weapons on board and Mr Moore said: “We principally purchase specialist Russian military hardware like Magnetrons used to guide in Mig fighters on Russian air bases, radar locating equipment, BUK radar systems (like used to bring down the Malaysian aeroplane in the Ukraine), to a scud launcher. It can be a dangerous trade dealing with the-not-so pleasant people, and when things go wrong you can get locked up in prison.”

But he said thanks to the EU his business is thriving and membership of the European Union has made life easier.

He said: “It used to take months, sometimes up to a year for us to obtain all the legal military transit documents to transport sensitive Russian hardware to the UK through other EU member states.

“This was until the EU standardised permit, dramatically decreased time to just a couple of months. I am competing with other vendors around the world.

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“If we were to leave the EU I would not be able to competitively trade in the UK and would have to move my business to the EU mainland or stop trading.

“It took until 2011 for this standardisation of permit. Eighteen years since the Treaty of Maastricht and formation of the EU. The chances of a new agreement being made immediately upon us leaving or within two years with all 27 nations, is just not going to happen.”

And he believes the EU helps maintain stability and stops wars.

Mr Moore said: “After WW2, when leaders were thinking what can we possibly do, to stop wars from ever happening again? A man called Robert Schuman among others came up with this idea of a trading agreement to stop wars. Very simply, if you trade you immunise yourself.

“There is less chance of you falling out with your neighbour if you buy and sell from them. It’s a bit like having a flu jab. But like a flu jab, you get a little pain in return. A little less sovereignty for the guarantee of peace.

“It’s not perfect. But it is working. Not a single EU member has gone to war with another since its foundation. Frankly, we should be celebrating this peace, with whistles and bells.

“Battles do happen, but in parliament at Brussels and Strasbourg, and not any where else. We are presently experiencing a stable economy. You only have to drive through the industrial area of Wisbech to see all the vacancy boards requiring workers. Are we really going to be that daft, and risk all this for some Utopia where the EU is going to be there anyway?”