The Army has insisted it is "completely untrue" that its zero-tolerance policy on drugs has been relaxed following reports that young recruits who fail tests are being given a second chance.
According to the Mail on Sunday, recruits in the first 14 weeks of training who fail their first drugs test are being "back-squadded", or returned to early stages of drills, but given the opportunity to pass a second test and remain in the Army.
The newspaper says it obtained an internal MoD document which reads:
"Young recruits in the first 14 weeks of training who fail on their first drugs test and meet the retention criteria will be allowed to continue with their training but will be 'back-squadded' and will face further drugs testing.
"Should they fail on two occasions, they will be discharged."
The document adds that fully trained soldiers can expect to be discharged the first time they are caught taking drugs, according to the paper.
But an Army spokesman said: "There has been no relaxation of the longstanding zero-tolerance policy on drug misuse.
"To suggest otherwise is completely untrue."