Man, 64, appears in court charged with assisting Russia

A 64-year-old man has appeared in court charged with assisting Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

Howard Michael Phillips, of Harlow, Essex, was charged with an offence contrary to section three of the National Security Act.

Phillips, wearing a grey tracksuit, spoke at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon to confirm his address and date of birth.

Judge Daniel Sternberg denied Phillips bail and ordered him to appear at the Old Bailey on June 14.

The Metropolitan Police said Phillips was arrested in central London on Thursday May 16.

A force spokesman said: “As part of the investigation, which is being led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, officers also searched an address in the Hertfordshire area and an address in the Essex area. Both searches are now complete.

“The arrest is not connected to any other recent charges or investigations linked to NSA offences and there is not believed to be any threat to the wider public in connection with this matter.”

The charge was described as part of a proactive counter terrorism policing investigation into suspected offences under the National Security Act.