A Royal Marine is being court-martialled - for shooting at a rat. He endangered a secret anti-smuggling operation in the New Territories by his actions, the court martial in Portsmouth, England, was told. Corporal Steven Leech faces two charges of negligence after firing his 9 mm Browning pistol while at an undercover observation post last August. 'Leech turned to the radio operator and told him: 'I'm fed up with the rat and I'm going to take it out', and then he fired his gun,' one of the prosecutors, Lieutenant-Commander Mark Emerton, told the military trial. 'At this point there was a loud bang and Leech said something like: 'I have either blown it away or missed it by miles'.' Leech, 27, who served with 45 Commando, was posted to HMS Tamar for a four-month tour last year, much of which would have involved anti-smuggling work. The court martial was told that last August he was in command of a unit comprising another Royal Marine and two Gurkhas at an observation post in thick undergrowth on a hillside ledge in the New Territories. They were part of an Anti-Smuggling Taskforce operation with police and Customs officers to crack down on smuggling of cars and car parts to China. Commander Emerton said that according to a statement by one of the Gurkhas: 'Leech was holding the pistol with both hands, taking aim at a bush in front of them. 'He heard Leech repeating the word 'rat' and then 'rat' again.' Leech, who has been in the Royal Marines for 11 years, told Royal Navy investigators that he shot at the rat because he thought that it posed a health risk. He denies the charges of negligence. The hearing continues.