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Arms probe soldier has interest in Nazi memorabilia

By Staff Reporter

Published 26/08/2016

A recent photo of Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell
A recent photo of Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell
The injuries he sustained during an attack by a gang of loyalists in Larne in 2002

A Royal Marine arrested in connection with an investigation into Northern Ireland terrorism has spent a second night in custody as detectives continue to question him in relation to two dissident republican arms dumps.

It has also emerged that the soldier has an interest in Nazi war memorabilia.

Ciaran Maxwell (30), from Larne, Co Antrim, was arrested in a pre-planned anti-terror swoop on Wednesday.

On his Facebook page, Maxwell links to Waffenmeister Antiques, a site dedicated to swastika-bedecked German military kit, including SS uniforms, badges, pistols and Nazi-era medals.

The father of one, who is being detained on suspicion of preparation for acts of terrorism, 'liked' the Nazi memorabilia site.

It is understood this week's police operation was linked to the discovery of two dissident arms dumps earlier this year.

There are also claims that as a 16-year-old Maxwell was the victim of a savage sectarian beating in his home town.

He sustained a fractured skull and suffered multiple other injuries when loyalists attacked him.

During his recovery he recounted the incident to the republican newspaper An Phoblacht in an article accompanied by a picture showing his injuries.

Wednesday's arrest operation involved searches at a house and wooded area in south Devon.

In Northern Ireland, officers searched a number of properties in Larne on Wednesday.

Two separate hauls of weapons were discovered in Carnfunnock and Capanagh parks within three months of each other.

An armour-piercing improvised rocket and anti-personnel mines were among the cache recovered at Capanagh in May.

Pipe bombs, magazines and ammunition for an assault rifle as well as bomb component parts and command wires were also concealed in barrels in purpose-built holes in woodland.

In March, bomb-making items were found at nearby Carnfunnock Country Park.

Police said that four barrels were unearthed at Carnfunnock - two barrels were empty, but two contained a variety of potentially lethal bomb-making components.

Larne is predominantly unionist in its community make-up, so the discovery of the caches led to some initial speculation that they could be linked to loyalist paramilitaries.

However, after assessing the nature of the weaponry, police experts concluded they most likely belonged to dissident republicans.

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