A GURKHA soldier has gone absent without leave from Europe's biggest Army base amid accusations he has been stealing from other recruits.

The soldier was serving with Gurkha Company, the 3rd Battalion, at the Infantry Training Centre, in Catterick Garrison, when he went missing on September 1.

The Army has not released the name of the soldier, but has confirmed it is investigating claims he was taking money from other recruits.

It is understood the soldier was married and his wife has also gone missing.

Senior officers say it is rare for a Gurkha to go absent without leave.

Mayor Susie Castle-Smith, deputy chief of staff at the Gurkha brigade headquarters, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, said: "While I can't discuss this individual case because it is an issue for Catterick, I can say it is very uncommon for a Gurkha to go absent.

"It is not something with their overall discipline that happens very often.

"There is a multitude of reasons why a soldier would go absent. It's only when the soldier returns that the unit can ascertain the cause."

An Army spokesman from Catterick Garrison said: "I can confirm that a Gurkha soldier went missing on September 1.

"He was serving with Gurkha Company, the 3rd Battalion, the Infantry Training Centre."

Nepalese Gurkhas first served under the British flag in 1817.

They fought in both the First and Second World War, earning a reputation for bravery.