13/11/2012 08:46 GMT | Updated 13/11/2012 08:47 GMT

Royal Navy Submariner Admits Meeting Men He Thought Were Russian Secret Agents

A Royal Navy submariner has admitted meeting two people he thought were Russian secret agents to discuss the movements of British nuclear submarines.

Petty officer Edward Devenney, 30, from Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey today to gathering details of encryption programmes and misconduct in a public office.

He contacted a foreign embassy to try to pass to Russia "crypto material" - programmes used to encrypt secret information - and information linked to the operation of HMS Trafalgar and two nuclear submarines.

But the two people he eventually met with were from British secret services.

Devenney appeared at the Old Bailey today and admitted collecting information for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state between November 18 last year and March 7 this year.

He gathered details of programmes used to encrypt secret information which could be useful to an enemy.

Devenney denied a second count of communicating information to another person and this will not be pursued by prosecutors.

He will be sentenced on December 12 at the Old Bailey, when parts of the hearing will be held in secret.

Mr Justice Saunders told him: "Your sentence will be adjourned to December 12 when I will hear all the matters and consider them all.

"Until then, you are remanded in custody."

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "It would be inappropriate for the service to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing."