A travelling showman faces trial in connection with a fairground accident in which three teenagers were injured when a ride came loose at a summer carnival.

The youngsters were injured in an incident on the Ultimate Buzz ride during a summer carnival on Hartlepool town moor, Cleveland, in summer 2000.

Operator Gilbert Findlay Jnr, 34, of Cuningar Estate, Farm Cross, Rutherglen, Glasgow, a member of the Glasgow branch of the Showmen's Guild, faces one charge of failing to ensure safety under Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, contrary to Section 33 (1).

Ride inspector Brian Black, 54, of Cross Hill Drive, Bathgate, West Lothian, faces the same charge in relation to checks he carried out on the machine.

Both men today appeared before Teesside Crown Court but no pleas were entered or charges read out.

The court was told that the case against Mr Findlay Jnr would ''proceed to trial'' as he would be contesting the charge, brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

Following the incident, in August 2000, a 14-year-old girl and two boys aged 15 and 17 were injured when the ride allegedly came loose and landed on the grass.

The court was told that the trial would last a week and would be held in early 2003.

Mr Black's defence team said there were legal issues to be examined regarding the charge against him and the hearing against both men was adjourned.

No date was set for them to return to court but legal submissions regarding Mr Black could be made in mid-December at Teesside Crown Court.