A British soldier stationed in Afghanistan is being accused of slicing the fingers off dead Taliban fighters to keep as souvenirs.

The Ministry of Defence is now investigating the macabre allegations about the soldier from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

The claims stem from the battalion's last tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The group was in Helmand from September 2010 until April 2011 to train Afghan police to deal with insurgents and enforce law and order.

Douglas Young, executive chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, told the BBC: "While the facts still need to be established, if there turns out to be anything in these claims, clearly the MoD are correct to treat the matter very seriously.

"The alleged behaviour is totally out of kilter with the ethos of the armed forces."

The MoD refused to say on whether the soldier had been suspended, or what action had been taken so far.

A defence spokesman said: "This is a very serious allegation and it would be wrong for us to comment. An investigation is ongoing."