A 16-year-old boy who ordered a potentially deadly toxin from the dark web has been sentenced.
The teenager, who is from Tameside but cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Manchester Youth Court on 8 April 2015.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to acquire a biological toxin or agent contrary to the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 and section one of the Biological Weapons Act 1974.
The basis of this plea was that he attempted to purchase the Abrin with a view to committing suicide.
On 20 April 2015, he was sentenced to a 12-month referral order. This followed an investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, who were informed in January that the teenager was attempting to obtain the highly toxic poison.
Law enforcement officers were covertly in communication with the 16-year-old over the dark web during which time he expressed an interest in purchasing the deadly toxin.
During these communications, the teenager showed awareness of the drug’s toxicity and the potential for it to be used to cause considerable harm.
On 6 February 2015, the 16-year-old attempted to place an order with the law enforcement officers posing as sellers of the toxin.
On 16 February 2015, warrants were executed at two addresses in Greater Manchester and the 16-year-old boy was arrested.
Detective Sergeant Russell Stubbs said: “The teenager is clearly a vulnerable, troubled young man and I hope now this case is concluded he can get the help and support he needs to turn his life around.
“Thanks to the vigilance of officers from a number of different law enforcement agencies, we were able to intervene before this young man did get hold of such a deadly substance from a genuine seller.
“I want to reassure our communities that the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and local police are well aware of the potential dangers associated with internet activity on the ‘dark web’.
“Law enforcement agencies use a range of investigative techniques to monitor and police unlawful internet activity.
“I would urge parents of children to keep a very close eye on what their children are doing. Security measures are available to block certain sites and if you suspect your child is spending too much time on the internet and you notice sudden changes in their behaviour then please report it.
“As in this case, the sooner we are able to identify someone either at risk or using the ‘dark web’ for criminal purposes the better chance we have to consider appropriate intervention options.”