Terrorists could attack the UK with its own nuclear missiles because of alarming security lapses at Faslane, where they are held, an on-the-run Royal Navy whistleblower has warned.
Able Seaman William McNeilly, a weapons engineer, has published a damning expose of security and safety concerns surrounding Britain’s nuclear Trident submarines.
He warned that ID cards were rarely checked, bags could easily be taken on board without being searched and it was harder to get in to a nightclub.
In an 18-page dossier, which he published online, he said: “If any of us were terrorists we would’ve been given the perfect opportunity to send nuclear warheads crashing down on the UK.
“It is just a matter of time before we are infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist.”
He claimed contractors at the base, on the Clyde in Scotland, were allowed alongside the submarines without being patted down or their equipment checked.
“All it takes is someone to bring a bomb on board to commit the worst terrorist attack the UK and the world has ever seen.”
Able Seaman William McNeilly
AB McNeilly said the Trident programme was a “disaster waiting to happen” and that even some of his crew mates had shown “clear psychopathic tendencies.”
He is now on the run after failing to return from leave and is being hunted by the Royal Navy and the police.
He said the penalty for what he had done was “life in prison, if I’m lucky” hinting that he could be “assassinated” for what he had done.
He also reported a series of concerns surrounding safety on the fleet, including a fire in a missile compartment after lavatory rolls caught alight and another missile compartment being used as a gym.
The UK currently has four Trident submarines that can carry nuclear missiles and they are based at Faslane.
AB McNeilly claims to have been on patrol with the HMS Victorious from January and April this year and began to make notes of his concerns after what he saw.
He claimed it was simple for him to gather the information although it would have been even easier to cause a “nuclear catastrophe”.
He detailed up to 30 safety and security flaws which he was exposing to ensure a “better world”.
They include failures in testing whether missiles can be safely launched, alarms being muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures being ignored and top secret information left unguarded.
He said he published the report after his concerns were ignored by senior officers.
“This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us,” he said.
“We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public. If we don’t act now lives could be lost for generations.”
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said many of the claims were “subjective and unsubstantiated personal views, made by a very junior sailor, with which the naval service completely disagrees”.
She added: “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.”
Peter Burt, of Nuclear Information Service, said: “William McNeilly is a brave young man who has done not only his colleagues in the submarine service but the whole nation a service by exposing the risks that submariners face because of cost-cutting, staff shortages and lax management.”
Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, demanded a full explanation, adding: “These revelations, if true, are extremely concerning. It reads as a nightmare catalogue of serious safety breaches.”