A British man has been detained and charged with attempting to wrestle a gun from a police officer at a Las Vegas rally in order to kill Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Michael Steven Sandford, who prosecutors described as a 19-year-old British national, was arrested on Saturday at the Treasure Island hotel in Las Vegas after trying to disarm the officer, according to Las Vegas police.

According to court papers filed on Monday in federal court in Nevada, Sandford told a Secret Service agent he had driven to Las Vegas from California with the goal of shooting Trump.

"Sandford claimed he had been attempting to kill Trump for about a year but decided to act on this occasion because he finally felt confident about trying it," the court papers said.

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He told police if he had not tried to kill Mr Trump at this rally he would have tried again at a rally in Phoenix, for which he had already booked tickets, the papers say.

Sandford has not entered a plea and is scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing on July 5, Collins said. Sandford's federal public defender, Heather Fraley, could not be immediately reached for comment.