Man in court over alleged plot to disrupt Stock Exchange

A man has appeared in court charged with conspiracy to cause public nuisance after an alleged plot to disrupt the London Stock Exchange and cause “huge economic damage” was revealed.

Sean Middleborough, 31, from Liverpool, appeared at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with conspiracy to cause a public nuisance between November 1 last year and January 14.

The defendant, wearing a grey tracksuit, spoke to confirm his name, age and address.

He was remanded in custody until February 12, when he will appear at Southwark Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

Five other people – three women and two men – were also arrested in connection with the plot and have been bailed pending further inquiries, Scotland Yard said.

The Met began an investigation after being passed information on Friday by the Daily Express.

Activists from the group Palestine Action were allegedly plotting to “target” the London Stock Exchange on the morning of January 15, causing damage and “locking on” to stop the building opening for trading, the force said.

The Express reported that the plot would kick-start a planned “week of chaos”, while the Met said there was a “suggestion that this was one part of a planned week of action”.

The allegations come after a two-month investigation during which a reporter posed as a member of the group, the Express reported.

It claimed to have been in touch with the group’s ringleader, who said on the encrypted messaging app Signal that Monday’s plot was part of a week of action against British institutions “complicit in Israeli apartheid”.

A 29-year-old woman was arrested in Albert Road, Brent, north London, and a 23-year-old man was held in Voss Street, Tower Hamlets, east London.

Two women, aged 28 and 26, were arrested in Liverpool, and a 27-year-old man was arrested in Brighton, East Sussex.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Palestine Action said the “campaign to end Israel’s weapons trade remains undeterred”.

Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Sian Thomas said: “We believe this group was ready to carry out a disruptive and damaging stunt which could have had serious implications had it been carried out successfully.

“I’m grateful to the Express for their willingness to provide the information gleaned from their own investigation. It was instrumental in helping us intervene successfully.

“Having only been provided with the material on Friday afternoon we had limited time to act.

“Mindful of the suggestion that this was one part of a planned week of action, we are in contact with the City of London Police as well as other forces across the UK to ensure that appropriate resources are in place to deal with any disruption in the coming days.”