Two British Army soldiers have appeared in court charged with being members of proscribed neo-Nazi group National Action, with one allegedly possessing a copy of Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto.

The crown alleges that Lance corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, 33, and Private Mark Barrett, 24, were both members of the far-right group.

National Action became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned by the UK and being a member is contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000 following the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016.

Vehvilainen, a serving member of the Royal Anglians, was allegedly in possession of '2083: A European Declaration of Independence' penned by Breivik between 26 May and 5 September 2017.

The Norwegian Neo Nazi mass murderer Breivik wrote the manifesto under the pseudonym Andrew Berwick whilst imprisoned for killing 77 people on Utoya Island, in Norway, in 2011.

Vehvilainen, appearing via videolink from HMP Belmarsh, and a 23-year-old civilian, who remains anonymous due to legal reasons, both deny three other terror-related offences at Birmingham Crown Court.

The charges include possessing documents useful for terrorism, publishing threatening material and distributing terror documents.

Both Vehvilainen and Barrett pleaded not guilty to being members of National Action with a conviction for being a member of the organisation carrying a maximum term of 10 years in prison.

Vehvilainen, who is originally from Finland, was previously based in Brecon, at the Wales HQ of the British Army, allegedly posted comments online about a white-only Britain.

Barrett of Cottesmore, appeared in court in person, and was reported to be a father-of-two who was once based at the British Army's Dhekelia garrison, in Cyprus.

The three men, who remain in custody, will stand trial on 5 March.

Also as part of the investigation two other soldiers were arrested as part of the investigation by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit but were released without charge.

Speaking after announcing the ban on National Action, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "National Action is a vile, racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic group, which glorifies violence and stirs up hatred while promoting their poisonous ideology."

In November two alleged members of the banned neo-Nazi group appeared in court in connection with a plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper with a Roman sword.