Strabane Royal Navy submariner tried to pass information to ‘Russian agents’

Royal Navy Submariner Edward Devenney.
Royal Navy Submariner Edward Devenney.

A Royal Navy submariner from Strabane has admitted meeting two people he thought were Russian secret agents to discuss the movements of British nuclear submarines.

Petty officer Edward Devenney, (30), pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey today to breaching the Official Secrets Act by gathering details of encryption programmes and misconduct in a public office.

He contacted a foreign embassy to try to pass to Russia “crypto material” - programmes used to encrypt secret data - and information linked to the operation of HMS Trafalgar and two nuclear submarines. But the two people he eventually met with were from British secret services.

Devenney, who was arrested in Plymouth in March, appeared at the Old Bailey today and admitted collecting information for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state between November 18 last year and March 7 this year.

He gathered details of programmes used to encrypt secret information which could be useful to an enemy.

Devenney denied a second charge of communicating information to another person and this will not be pursued by prosecutors.

He will be sentenced on December 12 at the Old Bailey, when parts of the hearing will be held in secret.

Mr Justice Saunders told him: “Your sentence will be adjourned to December 12 when I will hear all the matters and consider them all.

“Until then, you are remanded in custody.”