A MIDDLESBROUGH councillor will on trial next year accused of fraud.

Jon Rathmell pleaded not guilty to three charges of fraud and forgery involving the use of fake invoices submitted to a community council.

The 42-year-old, who is a member of the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association (MICA) on Middlesbrough Council, appeared at Teesside Crown Court this morning.

He is accused of committing fraud by false representation and two counts of using a false instrument.

All three offences are alleged to have occurred between January 10 and 11 last year when the defendant is accused of creating and submitting fake invoices for fireworks.

The court heard the alleged victim of the fraud charge is Nunthorpe Community Council.

Rathmell was released on unconditional bail until the date of his trial on March 8 next year.