Royal Marine charged with Northern Ireland-linked terrorism

© Olivia Harris
An active member of the British armed forces has been charged with terrorism offenses by the Metropolitan Police Friday following an investigation into England and Northern Ireland.

Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell is due to appear at the Westminster Magistrates Court under section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

He will be charged with assisting another to commit acts of terrorism, including making explosive devices, along with drug possession and fraudulent activity.

The 30-year-old was arrested on August 24 by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Command in Somerset and properties were searched in Exminster and Devon.

Earlier this year, weapons were discovered in two separate locations within three months of one another.

An armor-piercing improvised rocket along with two anti-personnel mines were among the items recovered in Capanagh in May.

The drug charge is for cannabis with intent to supply it to another, while the fraud charges allegedly relate to his possession of bank cards and associated CVC numbers.

Purpose-built holes in woodlands were found full of several pipe bombs, magazines and ammunition as well as bomb component parts, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Two months prior in March, bomb-making equipment was also found nearby at Carnfunnock Country Park.

Maxwell, who reportedly has a Catholic mother and Protestant father, was the victim of a sectarian attack when he was a teenager in his hometown of Larne, sustaining a fractured skull and multiple other injuries when he was beaten up by what he claims was a gang of loyalists with iron bars and golf clubs.

The incident was recounted in the newspaper An Phoblacht.

At the time, the paper said Maxwell “was beaten to the ground and lost consciousness” and that "during the incident, a British Army patrol arrived but did not intervene and drove off."

Larne is a predominantly unionist area and the recent discovery of the weapons has fueled speculation that they could be linked to loyalist paramilitaries.

Police, however, said given the nature of the weapons, they are more realistically linked to dissident republicans, the Belfast Telegraph reports.