A man who worked at Gatwick Airport has been jailed for selling secrets to Russia.

David Ballantyne Smith, 58, has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison after sending sensitive letters to the Russian Embassy in 2020.

Smith, originally from Paisley in Scotland, spent 12 years in the RAF before moving to Crawley and getting jobs at the airport.

He was arrested after exposing the identity of a diplomat who had worked in Russia as well as details of colleagues.

Smith committed the offences whilst working as a security guard at the British Embassy in Germany.

He was motivated by his support for Russian president Vladimir Putin and hatred of the UK when he began collecting classified documents in 2018.

Police launched an investigation after Smith’s second letter to a military attache at the Russian Embassy in November 2020 was traced back to him.

In an undercover sting operation in August 2021, two role players were deployed as a fake Russian defector and intelligence officer.

Following his arrest, police found Smith’s stash of sensitive and secret documents, including correspondence to then Prime Minister Boris Johnson from ministers.

Smith, 58, pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Official Secrets Act by committing an act prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state.

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He told the Old Bailey he was a patriotic Scot and had been proud to serve his country before his life went “downhill” after getting a job at the embassy in Berlin.

Embassy staff were left with “feelings of anger, betrayal and upset and concern at the implications of their details being shared with a hostile state actor”, the court heard.

Mr Justice Wall dismissed Smith’s attempts to explain away and minimise his activities, saying he was not a witness “of truth”.

The judge said: “He was paid for his treachery and he was motivated by his antipathy towards this country and intended to damage this country’s interests by acting as he did.”

He said the only reason why Smith did not resign from the embassy job he hated was so he could continuing feeding Russia its secrets.