Larne man (32) Niall Lehd sentenced to 29 years after helping ex-Marine Ciaran Maxwell to make explosives for dissident republicans

A 32 year-old man from Seahill Road in Larne has been sentenced to a total of 29 years after he worked with a royal marine to build explosives that were subsequently placed in hides.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 5:29 pm
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 5:30 pm
The police operation after items were discovered in blue barrels.
The police operation after items were discovered in blue barrels.

Father-of-three Niall Lehd will serve 24 years in prison and five years on licence.

Lehd will also be subject to Terrorist Notification conditions for 30 years when he is released.

Lehd, who was implicated by former royal marine and fellow Larne man, Ciaran Maxwell, pled guilty to one count of terrorist acts earlier this month.

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The explosives were discovered inside blue barrels in arms hides.

The explosives and other weapons were due to be passed on to dissident republicans.

Detective Chief Inspector Griffin said: “The charge relates to the discovery of a number of hides at Larne and surrounding areas between March and September 2016.

"Undoubtedly these finds amounted to one of the most significant seizures of munitions in recent years in Northern Ireland."

DCI Griffin added: "The sheer volume of weapons and component parts found in these hides had the capability to cause serious harm.

"The length of this sentence demonstrates the consequences for anyone who gets involved in this type of offending which there is no place for in today’s society

“I would very much like to thank the members of the public who first alerted Police to these hides. This clearly demonstrates the vital role communities have in support of their Police Service.

“Today Northern Ireland is a safer place following the discovery of these hides. We will continue to work tirelessly to keep people safe and act on any information given to us by members of the public.”