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Man convicted of planning a terrorist attack on national infrastructure to “topple the government”

|News, Terrorism

A man from Leicestershire has been convicted of planning a terrorist attack by performing reconnaissance, purchasing equipment and tools and seeking to recruit like-minded individuals to help him, with vital national infrastructure, including communications masts, being the main targets of his planned attacks.

Oliver Lewin, 38, was found guilty today at Birmingham Crown Court of preparing acts of terrorism.

Photo of a red-and-white communications transmitter mast
Communications transmitter mast

The CPS proved that Lewin engaged in reconnaissance of proposed targets to attack, even visiting them a few weeks before he was arrested. His main targets were major communications infrastructure.

In a handwritten notebook, Lewin wrote a target list: 'Media, Transport, Infrastructure, Power, Comms, Roads & Rail'.

Lewin drafted a document that was recovered from his laptop which he referred to as “Civilian Resistance Operations Manual” in which he encouraged the reader to join his cause and commit attacks stating: “For now there are several things that we can collectively do to cause significant damage to the country and send a message that we are serious in our mission.”

During the investigation it was found that Lewin had collected a large amount of military style equipment and tools, and was also in possession of three air rifles.

In July 2021, Lewin joined a Telegram group where he wrote “we are at war people make no mistake...Peaceful marching has not and will not do anything. You have to choose a better strategy. I have one that I think will work but it involves staying out in the wild for a few days at a time.”

In this group he sought others to join him in an attack on national infrastructure, and even started digging ‘hide-outs’ in the woodlands for them. He explained to the Telegram group that this was to escape detection particularly in the event that a helicopter was deployed by the police with infrared cameras following his attack.

Before his arrest, Lewin visited the Bardon Hill transmitter communications mast at night taking a series of videos of the location and the manhole covers under which fibre communications equipment are held. He visited the communications masts at Markfield Hill and Copt Oak taking a series of images of the locations. The CPS proved in court that his reconnaissance was to help him further plan his terror attacks.

Nick Price, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Oliver Lewin planned to commit a terror attack on our nation's infrastructure by amassing a huge amount of equipment, and undertaking reconnaissance.

“He not only was committed to the idea that violence was the only way to overthrow the government, but he also sought to persuade others to join him.

“These beliefs are extremely dangerous, and I am pleased that a jury has found him guilty of these crimes.”

Notes to editors

  • Oliver Charles Lewin (D.O.B: 30/12/1983) has been found guilty of:
  • intention of committing acts of terrorism engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention, including   
    • Engaging in reconnaissance of proposed targets to attack 
    • Purchasing equipment and tools 
    • Engaging in digging hide outs 
    • Seeking to recruit others to join him in an attack
  • Contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2000

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