MASS killer Anders Behring Breivik joined members of the English Defence League (EDL) on a march in the North-East last year.

The Northern Echo understands the Norway gunman took part in a march organised by the far-right movement in Newcastle in May.

On Friday, the 32-year-old set off a car bomb in the centre of Oslo that killed eight people, before travelling to an island summer camp and slaughtering dozens of teenagers.

The death toll, which now stands at 76, was the deadliest in the country since the Second World War.

Yesterday, as Breivik admitted the killings but pleaded not guilty to criminal responsibility in a closed hearing, Prime Minister David Cameron said the gunman’s links to this country were being investigated “extremely seriously”.

A leading North-East member of the organisation Unite Against Fascism told The Northern Echo it was no surprise to him that security sources were aware of Breivik’s presence in this country.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said that he had been on a counter demonstration to the EDL’s – marches that had brought the centre of Newcastle to a standstill.

“It is alleged he (Breivik) has contacts with about 600 EDL contacts in Britain,” he said. “Given that is the case, it is highly likely he will have had contacts with people in the North-East.

“Given that the travel links with the North-East and Norway are better than anywhere else other than London, I am not surprised that he attended here.

“The EDL and other far right organisations do operate internationally – they see themselves as almost Crusaders.”

Norwegian authorities yesterday revised down from 93 to 76 the total number of fatalities from Friday’s bomb blast in Oslo city centre and shootings at Utoya island, though it remains one of the worst mass murders of modern times.

Police said that the death toll at the Labour Party youth camp on Utoya was being reduced from 86 to 68 after overcounting caused by the fact that police and rescuers were focusing on helping survivors.

Meanwhile, the number killed by the bomb blast outside government headquarters in Oslo rose from seven to eight.

After Breivik’s appearance in court, Judge Kim Heger said he had told him that he wanted to save Europe from a Muslim takeover and claimed that two further cells existed in his organisation.

He said his bombing and shooting rampage was intended to send a “strong signal to the people” and deter future recruitment to the Labour Party, which he blamed for allowing Muslim immigration.

He was remanded in solitary confinement for eight weeks to prevent any contact with the outside world.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo said Breivik told investigators during his interrogation that he never expected to be released from jail.

In a rambling 1,500-page manifesto posted online shortly before the attacks, Breivik said that he was acting alone, but had been recruited to the radical cause by two English rightwing extremists at a meeting in the UK in 2002.

Mr Cameron, who yesterday discussed the massacre with security chiefs and senior ministers at a meeting of the National Security Council, said: “We are still investigating these claims, so I don’t want to give out partial information. We want to get to the bottom of this before making public announcements.

“But we take these things extremely seriously.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed that a UK police officer is helping Norwegian investigators who are looking into Breivik’s possible contacts.

The English Defence League issued a statement insisting that it has never had any official contact with Breivik and that there was no evidence that he ever registered as a supporter on the EDL Facebook page.

Speaking at 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron said Britain would review its security at home in the wake of the killings.

He said: “Everyone in Britain shares in the sorrow and the anger at the despicable killing which took place on Friday.

“Britain has already provided police assistance and will continue to offer our expertise and our moral support.

“Britain and Norway have been good allies and neighbours in very dark days before. We know that the resilience and the courage and the decency of our Norwegian friends will overcome this evil.”

The Prime Minister denied that Britain had been complacent about the threat from far-right terrorism, adding: “After such a dreadful event the British Government must of course review our own security at home and that is what the National Security Council started to do this morning when we met.”

On Sunday night, Mr Cameron signed a book of condolence at the Norwegian Embassy in London.

Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, and King Harald had earlier led the nation in a minute’s silence in memory of those killed.

Mr Stoltenberg said he knew many of the victims and their relatives, and had attended the youth camp every year since 1974.

The Norwegian Labour leader said: “We have never experienced anything like this before. You have to go back to the Second World War to find any kind of violence similar to what was experienced on Friday.”