The teenager, who is from the Tameside area but cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested by counter-terrorism police after intelligence that the boy tried to buy a highly toxic poison called abrin.
It’s a naturally occuring agent found in rosary pea seeds but exposure can lead to fatalities within just 72 hours. It can be inhaled as a mist or powder or dissolved in a liquid. There is also no known antidote.
Officers took part in a sting to covertly communicate with the boy online when he expressed interest in buying quantities of abrin.
The North West Counter Terrorism Unit suggested the teenager showed awareness of the drug’s toxicity and the potential for it to be used to cause considerable harm.
There has been no suggestion he intended to release the poison in a general attack and in court pleaded guilty to attempting to acquire a biological toxin on the basis that he bought the abrin to commit suicide.
On 6 February 2015, the 16-year-old attempted to place an order and also suggested he would make future purchases in larger quantities.
Ten days later he was arrested after warrants were executed at two addresses in the Mossley area of Greater Manchester.
A 16-year-old girl was also arrested as part of the investigation but later released without charge.
The teenage boy will be sentenced on 20 April 2015.
Image: Abrin seeds before processing