Man guilty of terror offences after planning to attack phone, radio and TV masts

Oliver Lewin has been convicted of terror offences Credit: West Midlands Police

A man from Leicestershire has been convicted of planning to attack phone, radio and TV masts, and damage the road network, in a series of co-ordinated terror attacks.

Oliver Lewin, 38, from Coalville planned to commit the attacks over a number of months, and tried to recruit others to help out.

He used social media to identify like-minded people, using the Telegram platform to create a national network to attempt to carry out the attacks.

His motive appears to have been a mistrust of authority.

Lewin claimed he was ex-military, though he previously worked as an AV engineer installing and maintaining radio masts.

He carried out extensive research online to try to identify weaknesses of the masts, and in person he visited locations for reconnaissance missions in in his local area. He also spent a lot of time writing a manual to train others.

In August last year, Lewin built a hideout so he could avoid a police helicopter, and he planned to damage a culvert which disrupted water flow underneath the M1 motorway.

He also trained himself to walk in the dark, and how to avoid travelling by road at night.

Counter-terrorism police arrested Lewis on 25 August on suspicion of preparing to commit an act of terrorism. Following that arrest, police seized a large number of tools, army surplus gear, and weapon accessories to go with the three air rifles he owned. They gathered two air rifles and pellets, a pistol, a BB gun, a walkie talkie, binoculars and a packed rucksack ready for an overnight camp.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Payne, who's the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU, said; "In interview, Lewin claimed he was a fantasist but it is clear he took the steps to carry out reconnaissance of targets to attack, bought equipment and tools, dug hide-outs and tried to recruit and train others."

"He wanted to advance a political cause by damaging property and wiping out media organisations. Extremists use this kind of ideology to create discord, distrust and fear among our communities and we strive to counter this."

Lewin is due to be sentenced on 20 January 2023.