A terror suspect plotted to “topple the government” by attacking major communications infrastructure, a court has heard.

Oliver Lewin is accused of carrying out reconnaissance of potential targets, purchasing equipment and tools, digging hideouts and seeking to recruit others.

Lewin, 38, from Coalville, Leicestershire, previously entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of preparing terrorist acts.

The single charge against him relates to a period between 24 July and 25 August last year.

He allegedly planned to target transmitter masts and transport infrastructure, such as the M1 in the Midlands, Birmingham crown court heard on Friday.

Opening the case against him, prosecutor Annabel Darlow KC said: “By 2021, Oliver Lewin was deeply opposed to the government of the United Kingdom. Mr Lewin, in fact, stated his goal was to topple the British government. He believed that it was dominated by a Jewish elite who took orders from Israel.”

“He saw the spread of coronavirus across the world as triggering what he termed the emergence of a Chinese communist system,” she added. “Mr Lewin was also deeply suspicious of the coronavirus vaccination programme, which at that time was in the process of being rolled out across the country.”

She said Lewin described himself as being on a “war footing”, adding: “By 2021 he had determined on the use of action to achieve his aim of destabilising the government.

“His chosen method of attack was to target communication systems and transport infrastructure.”

She said he planned to physically “attack the hardware” of communication systems and “cause damage to the road network”, and wanted “widespread coordinated attacks” to take place at different points in that network, the court heard.

Under the alias “Crouching Hedgehog”, Lewin used the encrypted messaging app Telegram to try to recruit others, pretending he was ex-army, she said. He later joined a Telegram group infiltrated by undercover police officers, where he issued a “call to arms”.

Lewin had a background working as an audiovisual engineer, Darlow said, and had previously worked for a small company that installed and maintained radio masts. She suggested this gave him specialist knowledge that could help him “sabotage masts and other infrastructure”.

Lewin looked into targeting a number of transmitter masts in the West Midlands – including at Sutton Coldfield transmitting station, Darlow said. He allegedly told undercover officers Sutton Coldfield was an “exceptionally high-value target”, suggesting “firebombing” sheds there, she said.

She added: “That is one of the UK’s most important transmission sites and is in fact the main broadcasting site for the Birmingham and West Midlands area, supporting TV and radio broadcasting services for many millions of users.”

Police searched Lewin’s address and found a partly completed work entitled “Civilian Resistance Operations Manual”, she said.

In the manual, he allegedly stated: “What we can be certain of is that we are seeing the emergence of a Chinese communist system that is ever accelerating with rapidity.

“We are not a communist country and should fight with everything we have to prevent it.”

She claimed Lewin added: “My ideal primary objective would be to topple the government and all within it and install a civilian-led alternative that doesn’t act for themselves and consider anybody below them mere scum.”

The trial continues.

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