NEW Zealand shooter Brenton Tarrant visited the UK as he toured through Europe in a trip feared to have fed his extremist views, it has been claimed.
The 28-year-old’s links to far right organisations are now being probed by MI5 in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque massacres.
Fifty people were killed when the gun man opened fire on innocent worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Dozens more were injured, with the world left reeling in shock.
A senior government source today told The Sunday Telegraph that Tarrant had “transited” through Britain in 2017, staying “for a few weeks”.
And Brit spies are reviewing the Australian’s 74-page manifesto, penned before the gunman opened fire, a Whitehall source told The Times.
The revelations come after a number of other countries revealed they had launched investigations into what, if any, links Tarrant had made while travelling.
It has been claimed Tarrant started to travel about 2011 after the death of his father, heading to Turkey, North Korea and Pakistan, as well as the Balkans.
The young man’s multiple visits to Turkey are also being probed, Ankara confirmed.
Bulgarian authorities revealed the alleged shooter had visited the country as recently as last year.
Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov said Tarrant had visited Bulgaria between November 9 and 15 last year.
Tarrant travelled to Sofia, using a hire car to travel to areas including Pleven, Gabrovo and Bachovo.
Prosecutor-General Tsatsarov told Sofia Globe: “We have to establish whether the purpose of visiting the country was to study historical places, or something else.”
It’s only since he travelled overseas I think that that boy has changed completely to the boy we knew
Tarrant is also believed to have travelled to North Korea, India and Japan.
Details of the Australian’s history have continued to emerge, with neighbours claiming he was a “buffed up weirdo ready to explode”.
His gran also revealed he had “changed” after travelling – saying: “It’s only since he travelled overseas I think that that boy has changed completely to the boy we knew.”
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Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism, said there was “no intelligence linking these appalling events to the UK”.
Meanwhile, security at mosques across Britain was stepped up over fears of a copycat attack. Police increased patrols and offered advice.
Col Richard Kemp, former chair of the Government’s Cobra group, admitted: “A New Zealand type attack has long been considered.”