A submariner has been jailed for eight years for trying to disclose the secret movements of British nuclear submarines to "Russian spies".
ITV News' Crime Correspondent Jon Clements reports.
Royal Navy petty officer Edward Devenney has been jailed for eight years today for trying to pass Britain's nuclear submarine secrets to men he believed to be Russian spies.
– Mari Reid, unit head for the CPS counter-terrorism division
This was a classic story of betrayal.
Edward Devenney was employed by the Royal Navy to protect this country from potential threats to our security.
Instead, he pursued a course of conduct likely to put his country at risk.
We rely on the men and women of our armed forces to keep us safe. It is hard to imagine a greater breach of that role than Devenney's actions.
Outside court, Edward Devenney's solicitor Richard Cannon read a statement on behalf of his client, which said:
I am deeply sorry for the hurt and shame that I have brought on my family and loved ones.
Prior to these events I gave the Royal Navy 11 and a half years of service and I deeply regret my actions and the effect they have had on the Submarine Service and colleagues.
Before he was sentenced, Lord Carlile, defending, read a letter to the court from Devenney which said:
"I have brought great shame to my family, loved ones and the submarine service.
"I accept the consequences of my actions and I'm truly sorry.
"Mostly I would like to apologise for the shame I brought on the Royal Navy."
Lord Carlile said when the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence reflected on what Devenney was going through: "They might think twice about leaving a person in post until the issues have been resolved."
Lord Carlile said Devenney had been "something of a blue-eyed boy" until things began to go awry.
Royal Navy petty officer Edward Devenney was jailed for eight years at the Old Bailey today for trying to pass nuclear submarine secrets to Russian spies.
The sentencing of Edward Devenney has gone into a secret session while classified information is discussed in detail.
It seems to me like MI5 ended up dealing with an issue that Royal Navy HR should have been able to handle.
It was only through the vigilance of MI5 officers who mounted a sting operation where they pretended to be Russian spies that national security was not harmed, said Mark Dennis QC, prosecuting.
Mr Dennis said: "The potential damage could have been considerable and could have harmed the safety and security of the United Kingdom."
Devenney, originally from Northern Ireland, has pleaded guilty to breaching the Official Secrets Act and misconduct in public office.
A submariner who offered to pass on naval secrets to Russian spies was on the verge of being sacked, the Old Bailey heard today.
Petty officer Edward Devenney, 30, said he was disillusioned with the Royal Navy because his promotion hopes had been dashed through defence cuts.
But he was drinking heavily, had bouts of depression and had just been cleared of a rape charge.
He asked for his training course for promotion to be deferred for a year but his absences without leave and conduct had led to a warning that he would be sacked if it continued, the court heard.