UK charged men with helping Russia under new law

Just nowAbout sharing

The national security investigation started after a suspected arson attack at a London warehouse
By Daniel Sandford
BBC News home affairs correspondent

Two British men have been charged with helping Russian intelligence after a suspected arson attack on a Ukraine-linked business in London.

Dylan Earl, 20, from Elmesthorpe in Leicestershire, and Jake Reeves, 22, from Croydon, were investigated following a fire at a warehouse in east London in March.

Three other suspects linked to the fire have been held on other charges.

The investigation is being led by Met Police counter-terror officers.

Mr Earl is accused of overseeing the plot to target the business, where lorries carrying aid bound for Ukraine had been dispatched from.

Mr Earl appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week, but for legal reasons BBC News has not been able to report that until today.

He also faced a charge of aggravated arson when he appeared in court on Saturday.

Dmitrijus Paulauska, 22, was charged with failing to disclose information to police about terrorist acts, an offence under the Terrorism Act, 2000. He appeared in court on Friday.

Two other men have been charged with one count of aggravated arson each but are not suspected of any national security offence.

Nii Mensah, 21, from Thornton Heath in South London, and Paul English, 60, from Roehampton in South West London, appeared in court on Monday.

All five are due to appear at the Old Bailey on 10 May.

Paul English – who is not charged with a national security offence – is accused of aggravated arson

The investigation is related to a fire which broke out on an industrial estate on Staffa Road in Leyton in March, which the prosecution said was started using an accelerant such as petrol.

Eight fire engines and 60 firefighters were called out to the blaze.

The charges do not specify who owns the businesses that were targeted – but Companies House records show they are two parcel delivery services: Oddisey and Meest UK.

They are owned by Mykhaylo Prykhodko, also known as Mikhail Boikov, and his wife Jelena Boikova, who both live in London.

Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said Mr Earl is “alleged to have engaged in conduct targeting businesses which were linked to Ukraine in order to benefit the Russian state”.

He continued: “Included in the alleged activity was involvement in the planning of an arson attack on a Ukrainian-linked commercial property in March 2024.”

Mr Earl and Mr Reeves are the first people to be charged under a new law designed to update and modernise the offences of espionage, sabotage and foreign interference.

At the time it was passed, the government said it was designed to strengthen the UK’s defences against hostile activity by states “targeting the UK’s democracy, economy, and values.”

The full charges Mr Earl faces are:

Preparing an act that endangered the life of a person or created a serious risk to the safety of the public contrary to Section 18 of the National Security Act 2023Assisting a foreign intelligence service contrary to Section 3 of the National Security Act 2023Aggravated arson

The full charges Mr Reeves faces are:

Obtaining a material benefit from a foreign intelligence service, contrary to section 17 of the National Security Act, 2023Aggravated arson


Table of Contents

More Posts