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Police continue to quiz Larne Marine

By Staff Reporter

Published 27/08/2016

Detained: Ciaran Maxwell
Detained: Ciaran Maxwell

A Royal Marine arrested in connection with a UK-wide investigation into dissident republican arms dumps is facing a third night in custody.

Yesterday a London court extended the period that Larne soldier Ciaran Maxwell (30) could legally be detained before being charged or released.

He can now be held in custody for questioning until next Wednesday.

Maxwell was arrested in a pre-planned anti-terror swoop on Wednesday.

The arrest operation involved searches at a house and wooded area in south Devon, as well as in his home town in Co Antrim.

The Royal Marine is being detained on suspicion of preparation for acts of terrorism.

Earlier this year, two separate hauls of weapons were discovered in Carnfunnock and Capanagh forest near Larne within three months of each other.

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

Several 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.

It has emerged 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 a gang of loyalists attacked him with iron bars and golf clubs.

One local man told the Larne Times: "Ciaran is from a mixed background, his mother is Catholic and his dad is Protestant.

"He grew up in the Seacourt estate and was absolutely tortured by the UDA when he was a teenager," the paper reported.

The searches at the property in Exminster are being carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service's Counter Terrorism Command and local uniformed officers.

Detective Chief Inspector Antony Hart, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "Local officers will be in the Exminster area and will be speaking to residents to help offer reassurance."

Searches are expected to continue throughout the weekend. Since 2009 dissident republican terrorists have murdered two soldiers, two policemen and two prison officers in Northern Ireland.

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