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eBay scrubs missile sale

British weapons specialist removes Soviet-era projectile from auction site--but its launcher remains for sale. Image: If I had a rocket launcher

A British man trying to sell a deactivated Soviet-era missile on eBay was forced to delete it after Web site staff contacted him for breaching company rules.

But eBay told Richard Moore, from Cambridgeshire, to remove the missile because he broke eBay regulations by listing it alongside its vehicle launcher, which should have appeared as a separate item--and not because it was a weapon.

The online auctioneer bans the sale of any ammunition, replica guns or firearms on its sites.

Selling demilitarized missiles however is acceptable, an eBay spokesman said.

"There's a large market in demilitarized weaponry, and they're classified as museum pieces," the spokesman said.

The missile's fully operational launcher is still on offer, at 18,990 pounds ($35,660).

"I guess anything with the word 'missile' in it is sensitive, but as I keep saying to everyone, the missile in question couldn't cause any harm and is literally just the shell," Moore told Reuters.

On his eBay page, Moore describes the Zil 135 Free Range Over Ground (FROG) rocket launcher as the "mother of all toys."

"It's a hugely collectible piece of kit which should have been broken up so there's really not many of them around," he said. Although the missile itself is no longer on eBay, he would still sell it to interested parties.

Moore stressed he was not an arms dealer, just a Russian military vehicle specialist. He bought both items two weeks ago from a specialist company that provides vehicles for film production.

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.