TWELVE people have appeared in court to face mortgage fraud charges totalling almost £4million.

The offences are alleged to have been carried out between 2003 and 2006 and involve estate agents, mortgage brokers and legal workers in Bournemouth and in Hampshire.

The case involves 13 defendants but one, Peter King, was not in court.

The group appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court before Judge John Harrow for a plea and directions hearing and denied all the allegations.

A trial, likely to last for at least eight weeks, will start at the same court on September 17.

The case involves 19 charges, with some defendants accused in more charges than others.

Amanda Powis, 44, of Riggs Gardens, Bournemouth, faces 17 charges of dishonestly obtaining a mortgage advance from Halifax PLC, Northern Rock and the Bank of Scotland.

The charges name sums between £362,250 and £127,850.

Alex Chiswell, 33, of Tangmere Rise, Eastleigh, is charged with 10 similar offences, ranging from £362,250 to £142,500.

Colin Zaczyk, 40, of Bassetwood Drive, Southampton, is charged with five offences and Dermot O’Malley-Keyes, 60, of South-bourne Road, Bournemouth, with three.

Madeleine O’Malley-Keyes, 59, of Southbourne Road, Bourne-mouth, Robert Baird, 51, of Juniper Close, Andover, and John Hudson, 51, of Commercial Road, Bournemouth, all face two charges.

The following face one charge each: Peter King, 43, of Coventry Crescent, Poole, Lee Smith, 32, of Cavendish Place, Bournemouth, Paul Morgan, 36, of Etches Close, Bournemouth, Maxine Gribben, 38, of Leagrave, Luton, James Woodridge, 40, of Riggs Gardens, Bournemouth and Lisa Chiswell, 34, of Tangmere Rise, Eastleigh.

The charges relate to properties in Bournemouth, Poole, Brent-ford, Ipswich and Eastleigh.

Local addresses include Seamoor Road, Cleveland Road and Wimborne Road, Bournemouth and Denmark Lane, Poole.

The defendants were remanded on bail until the trial.