THREE members of a North-East family have denied duping hundreds of people round the country with a work-from-home postal scam.

Richard and Alison Alderson, and half-brother Darren, are alleged to have made potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds from people who sent off cash sums for further information, but received nothing for their money.

They appeared at Durham Crown Court yesterday, where they pleaded not guilty to a joint charge of conspiracy to defraud.

Spanning a period from May 1998 to the end of 2000, the alleged offence states that they offered work to people, subject to a registration fee, when there was, "no intention to provide such employment".

The case was adjourned for a trial of up to six weeks to be staged at Teesside Crown Court in February, as there may be as many as 70 witnesses.

Richard, 32, and Alison Alderson, 34, both of Briarhill, Hilda Park, Chester-le-Street, and Darren Alderson, 24, of Rose Heath, Stockton, were bailed to attend a preliminary hearing at Teesside Crown Court in September prior to next year's trial.