AT least two apparent security breaches have occurred in the last few months at the site of a base used to host Britain’s nuclear bombs and submarines, The National can reveal – despite attempts by bosses to keep the news under wraps.

Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport, which is used as the nuclear warhead storing and loading facility under the UK’s controversial Trident programme, has been the recent target of at least two trespassing incidents, with the latest happening on January 28.

Despite insistence from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that it did not involve a restricted area, bosses at the base apparently called meetings in the last few weeks to ensure word on the intrusion did not get out to the public. Alarms were also set off as the two trespassed on MoD property.

The base, situated on Loch Long in rural Argyll, hires an external contractor to protect the area, yet the most recent intruders made it onto the grounds in broad daylight.

Just last year, a similar trespassing incident reportedly failed to be caught by the same firm before those involved gained access to the grounds.

An MoD spokesperson told The National: “We can confirm that two individuals were detained on January 28 outside of RNAD Coulport after one of them gained access to a redundant jetty. Although on MoD property, the jetty is not inside the security perimeter of RNAD Coulport.

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“At no time did the individuals breach the security perimeter of RNAD Coulport and the safety and security of the site was not compromised.”

Two jetties are located at Coulport: the older Polaris Jetty, and the Explosive Handling Jetty.

The decision to place the UK’s nuclear weapons system on the west coast of Scotland has long been a topic of debate, with the Scottish Government refusing to support the Trident missile programme.

The National:

Recent events have furthered concerns that the MoD is failing to ensure sufficient security measures are in place, putting the safety of Scotland at severe risk.

The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara, the MP for Argyll and Bute, said: “These reported security breaches at RNAD Coulport are deeply worrying and the MOD must now come clean and explain how this happened, not just once but twice.

“We cannot allow those responsible for these lapses to simply sweep this under the carpet, as they are prone to do.

“It’s bad enough that Scotland is forced against our will to house these weapons of mass destruction, so surely the least we can expect of the MOD is that they are properly guarded.”

The MoD previously revealed 284 nuclear safety events had taken place at Coulport since 2006.

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Former defence minister Stuart Andrew described the disclosed events last year as “low level”, posing no harm to staff or the public, despite one Category A accident in 2008 involving water overflowing from a primary effluent barge.

A Category A event is listed by the MoD to have “actual or high potential for radioactive release to the environment in excess of IRR99 notification limits”.

Recorded accidents also included fires and staff exposures to radiation. A whistleblower at the Clyde site disclosed in 2015 that alarms were muted due to them going off so often, and safety procedures were ignored.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said: “Sadly, there have been many lapses of security at the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons sites.

“The situation was so serious in 2015 that an engineer who worked onboard one of the Trident submarines blew the whistle about security lapses at Faslane, the naval base which is home to the submarines.

“He .. spoke out because he feared someone getting in and committing a terror attack. Coulport stores the UK’s nuclear warheads. The security vulnerabilities there, which these latest breaches indicate, could similarly be exploited by those seeking to commit major terror offences.

“An attack using nuclear materials found at Coulport would have very serious implications for the people of Scotland and beyond. The cost of Trident replacement is bankrupting the MOD. It is very alarming if, as a consequence, officials are cutting corners on security.”