A Royal Navy submariner who claimed that security and safety procedures around the Trident nuclear programme mean it could be "infiltrated by a terrorist" has said he will hand himself over to the authorities.

Military and civilian police are working to locate Able Seaman William McNeilly, who went absent without leave last week after producing an 18-page report containing a series of allegations about the Trident submarines base on the Clyde.

His report alleged 30 safety and security flaws on the submarines, describing it as a "disaster waiting to happen".

The Royal Navy said the Trident submarine fleet operated "under the most stringent safety regime".

Speaking to the BBC, Mr McNeilly said: "I'm not hiding from arrest; I will be back in the UK in the next few days and I will hand myself in to the police.

"Prison - such a nice reward for sacrificing everything to warn the public and government.

"Unfortunately that's the world we live in. I know it's a lot to sacrifice and it is a hard road to walk down, but other people need to start coming forward."

An official investigation has been launched after he raised his concerns in an internet post.

In the post, which was also sent to newspapers and journalists, he said he is an Engineering Technician Submariner who was on patrol with the Trident submarine HMS Victorious this year.

He claimed there are fire risks and leaks on board and that security checks are rarely carried out on personnel and contractors working on the submarines when they are docked at Faslane.

He also alleged that alarms had been muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures had been ignored and top-secret information was left unguarded.

Mr McNeilly, originally from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, said he raised concerns with senior officers but decided to publish his claims because they were ignored.

He wrote: "Our nuclear weapons are a target that's wide open to attack.

"It is just a matter of time before we're infiltrated by a psychopath or terrorist."

The Royal Navy said it is "concerned for Mr McNeilly's whereabouts and well-being", and confirmed military police are working with civilian police officers to find out where he is.

The Navy said many of the claims are "subjective and unsubstantiated personal views, made by a very junior sailor, with which the naval service completely disagrees".

A spokeswoman said: "The Royal Navy takes security and nuclear safety extremely seriously, and we are fully investigating both the issue of the unauthorised release of this document and its contents.

"The naval service operates its submarine fleet under the most stringent safety regime and submarines do not go to sea unless they are completely safe to do so."

Asked whether David Cameron had any concerns about the safety of the Trident subs, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "As with all defence equipment, they only operate where we believe the right standards are in place."