Trident sailor arrested by Navy police

Faslane nuclear base, home to Trident nuclear submarines ''Danny Lawson/PA.
Faslane nuclear base, home to Trident nuclear submarines ''Danny Lawson/PA.

A Royal Navy submariner who published an online dossier of safety and security concerns about the Trident nuclear programme has been apprehended.

Able Seaman William McNeilly, 25, went absent without leave last week after producing an 18-page report containing a series of allegations about the Trident submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde.

He was stopped last night at Edinburgh Airport and is now being held by Royal Navy Police at a military establishment in Scotland. His report alleged 30 safety and security flaws on the submarines, describing them as a ‘’disaster waiting to happen’’.

Mr McNeilly, originally from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, said he raised concerns with senior officers but decided to publish his claims because they were ignored.

He wrote: ‘’Our nuclear weapons are a target that’s wide open to attack.

‘’It is just a matter of time before we’re infiltrated by a psychopath or terrorist.’’

A post on a Facebook profile apparently belonging to Mr McNeilly said yesterday that he would be handing himself in to the police.

He said he had ‘’moved between countries, changed location almost every day’’, but now ‘’lacks the resources to remain undetected’’.

The Navy said many of the claims are ‘’subjective and unsubstantiated personal views, made by a very junior sailor, with which the naval service completely disagrees’’.

A spokeswoman said: ‘’The Royal Navy takes security and nuclear safety extremely seriously, and we are fully investigating both the issue of the unauthorised release of this document and its contents.

‘’The naval service operates its submarine fleet under the most stringent safety regime and submarines do not go to sea unless they are completely safe to do so.’’