Irish-British Royal Navy petty officer Edward Devenney could be facing up to fourteen years in prison after he was caught red-handed attempting to provide classified information to who he believed to be Russian spies.

BBC News reports on the crimes committed by Devenney, a native of Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Devenney breached the Official Secrets Act when he attempted to hand over classified Navy information to a group he believed to be Russian spies, but were in fact undercover British MI5 agents.

Devenney, 30, admitted gathering details of "crypto material,” programs used to encrypt secret data. He also admitted a charge of misconduct in a public office after he met two people he thought were Russian spies to discuss UK operations.

The petty officer had contacted a foreign embassy in an attempt to pass information to Russia regarding the operation of HMS Trafalgar and two other nuclear submarines.

After being arrested in March, Devenney was charged under the Official Secrets Act for collecting information for a purpose "prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state" between November 18, 2011 and March 7, 2012.

Devenney denied a second charge under the act of communicating information to another person, a charge that will not ultimately be be pursued by prosecutors as no secret information was passed on.

Devenney will be sentenced on December 12 at Old Bailey in London. He will remain in custody until his sentencing.

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