Belfast Telegraph

New arrest in probe over Royal Marine dissident bomb-maker

Ciaran Maxwell
Ciaran Maxwell

By Staff Reporter

A 29-year-old man has been arrested in the north west on suspicion of terrorism offences linked to dissident republican weapons hides, the PSNI has said.

It is understood the detention was in relation to arms hides discovered in Carnfunnock Country Park, Capanagh Forest and a number of other sites in the Larne area.

Detectives arrested the man on suspicion of being involved in the preparation of acts of terrorism under section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

Last night he was being interviewed in Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

The arrest is understood to be linked to the disgraced Co Antrim Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell, who was jailed for 18 years at the Old Bailey in July 2017 for supplying bombs to dissident republicans.

During a hearing in London it was said Maxwell (32) - who is originally from Larne and was with 40 Commando based at Norton Manor Camp in Somerset at the time of the offences - was acting under the influence of a man "associated with the Continuity IRA".

The former soldier stashed anti-personnel mines, mortars, ammunition and 14 pipe bombs - four of which were later used - in 43 purpose-built hides at eight locations in Northern Ireland and England. These included Carnfunnock Country Park and Capanagh Forest, both near Larne.

The bomb-making materials were found in barrels and buckets buried in the ground, as well as an adapted PSNI pass card, a PSNI uniform and stab-proof vest.

The Old Bailey heard that the father-of-one researched targets and discussed plans to attack police stations and officers.

The court heard how Maxwell's list of targets in Northern Ireland included power stations, Army barracks, a council building, an Orange hall and tax offices.

Maxwell's lawyer said the defendant lived a double life and was a "Marine by day (and) it seems republican bombmaker on leave".

Other files included the names and contact details of PSNI officers and an MI5 officer.

His plot, however, was foiled when members of the public stumbled across his hides by chance.

Maxwell joined the Marines in 2010, eight years after suffering serious head injuries in a vicious assault by loyalists in Larne.

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