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Marine Maxwell pleads not guilty to terror arsenal charges

By Sally Wardle

A Royal Marine from Co Antrim has appeared in court charged with dissident republican-linked terror offences.

Ciaran Maxwell (30), of Exminster, Devon, is accused of stashing explosives and weapons in purpose-built caches in England and Northern Ireland.

He also allegedly compiled a library of terrorism documents, including instructions on how to make explosives and tactics used by terrorist organisations.

Maxwell, who wore a grey tracksuit for the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, is also charged with possessing articles in connection with use for fraud and possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Flanked by four plain-clothed officers in the dock, Maxwell, who is originally from Larne, pleaded not guilty to both charges, which will be tried in conjunction with the alleged terror offences at Crown Court.

He was taken to a West Country police station in Somerset before being transferred to a London police station last Thursday and questioned on suspicion of being involved in the preparation for acts of terrorism under Section Five of the Terrorism Act.

Property searches in Exminster are now complete, while searches at New Powderham Plantation in Devon will continue into next week.

PSNI searches in Larne, meanwhile, are ongoing. In March, police uncovered a "significant terrorist hide" including bomb-making paraphernalia at Carnfunnock Country Park.

In May, they uncovered a further collection of explosives and bomb parts at Capanagh Forest, close to Larne. Both discoveries were believed to be related to dissident republican groups.

It is alleged that between January 1, 2011 and August 24, 2016, Maxwell manufactured explosive substances and constructed explosive devices.

He is accused of carrying out research resulting in the creation of a library of documents likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism - specifically information regarding "the manufacture of explosive substances, the construction of explosive devices and tactics used by terrorist organisations". Maxwell is also charged with getting an image of an adapted PSNI pass card and items of a police uniform. He was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on September 19.

Maxwell was arrested on August 24 by officers from the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command, supported by Avon and Somerset and Devon and Cornwall Police.

The investigation involved MI5, the PSNI, the South West Counter-Terrorism Unit and Scotland Yard.

Belfast Telegraph


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