A member of the armed forces has formally been cleared of sharing “highly sensitive” military information after the Crown dropped the case.

On Friday at the Old Bailey, the prosecution offered no evidence against Thomas Newsome, 37, from Poole, on a charge under the Official Secrets Act.

Prosecutor Tom Little KC said the decision had been made in light of a report on Mr Newsome’s mental health and took into account the length of time he had already spent in custody.

He said the defendant, who denied wrongdoing, had been suffering from a mental health condition which was linked to the reasons for his prosecution.

The alleged offence was said to have arisen from Mr Newsome’s “grievances” with his employer.

It was claimed Mr Newsome had returned to the UK from overseas deployment on April 17 and shared a 10-page document containing “highly sensitive military information”.

He was accused of making the “damaging disclosure of information relating to defence” to two senior officers and a civilian living outside the UK.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Brigid Fitzpatrick said the defendant had also indicated “he would provide the information contained within the document to the press if the grievances he had with his employer were not taken seriously”.

The prosecution asserted the release of such information would pose “a real and immediate threat to the lives of British citizens based outside the UK”.

A second allegation related to possession of a USB stick said to have contained “highly sensitive material”.

It stated that on April 18 he failed to take care of documents or “prevent the unauthorised disclosure of those documents as a person in his position may reasonably be expected to take”.

Mr Newsome, who was on bail, had been due to face a trial at Kingston Crown Court on April 8 next year.

He had appeared at the Old Bailey by video link from his home for the brief hearing before Mr Justice Jeremy Baker.

Mr Newsome formally pleaded not guilty to an offence under the Official Secrets Act.