Troops felled by steroids
Military operations are winding down in Afghanistan but many British soldiers have embarked on a new clandestine mission.
They call it "Op Massive": hitting the gym for hours at a time, lifting huge weights and sometimes combining several types of legal, and often contraband, muscle-building supplements, regardless of the dangers to their health.
This month UK soldiers withdrew from the last of their Helmand province patrol bases, in which at night the clang of weights and throbbing music from makeshift army gyms would clash with the call to prayer from nearby mosques.
In recent years a bodybuilding craze has swept through the British Army that is more about looks than effectiveness in battle. There has been a worrying spread of the use of illicit steroids, sports supplements and performance-enhancing drugs at some military bases. The body-building craze is starting to claim careers and, it is feared, even lives.
Eighteen soldiers from the elite 7Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, are expected to be discharged from the army after testing positive for steroids .
Three SAS candidates died on a qualification course and steroids use is thought to be to blame. About 30 British soldiers a year test positive for steroids.