AN alleged teenage neo-Nazi said he was adopting a persona when he listed venues in his home city "worth attacking", a court has heard.

The 16-year-old boy, from Durham, drafted a manifesto entitled "A Manual for practical and sensible guerrilla warfare against the kike system in the Durham City area, Sieg Heil".

Within the document was a list of supposed targets including schools, post offices, pubs, council buildings, a passport office and a bus station, Manchester Crown Court has heard.

He also allegedly wrote of planning to conduct an arson spree with Molotov cocktails on synagogues in the Durham area.

But the youngster told a jury he had no intention of carrying out any attacks, did not hold racist views and only pretended to do so for "shock value" and to feel better about himself.

The document was seized along with a diary, books - including Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf - and computer devices by police who searched his home in March.

Among his journal entries, he marked Hitler's birthday by writing: "A brave man to say the least. Although maybe having written proof that I admire their number one enemy isn't such a wise idea. I will however say

that I one day hope to follow in his footsteps."

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told prosecutor Michelle Nelson QC that his diary entries and online posts on a far right-wing forum were made in his false persona, which he said he created in 2017 because "it was the most extreme I could think of".

Ms Nelson said: "It must have been difficult to keep up these two different personas for a period of two years."

The defendant replied: "Somewhat but I knew I would get a lot of attention from it and kept going with it."

Ms Nelson continued: "You were anti-Semitic, you were homophobic, you felt feminism was damaging to society, that is what you believe isn't it?"

The defendant said: "No, it was just to get myself above others, adopting a right-wing persona was the best way to do it."

The barrister asked why he was searching online in 2015 for topics related to al Qaida, jihad and The Anarchist Cookbook.

The teenager said so-called Islamic State was "in the news a lot" at the time and that The Anarchist Cookbook had been read by Columbine High School murderers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

Ms Nelson suggested to the defendant that his diary was similar to the journals written by the Columbine killers and contained plans for a terrorist attack.

The defendant said his interest in Columbine may have been "the start of building an alter ego".

Ms Nelson said: "You say you are not racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. That's just not true."

The defendant replied: "It is true."

The barrister went on: "You are lying to the jury about this false persona and are attempting to manipulate them."

"No," said the teenager.

The youth denies preparation of terrorist acts, disseminating a terrorist publication, possessing an article for a purpose connected with terrorism and three counts of possessing a document or record containing information likely to be useful to a terrorist.

The trial continues.