AN Ellesmere Port gardening businessman has appeared at Chester Magistrates Count facing 23 counts of fraud.

Michael Aston, 31, of Pooltown Road, entered no plea when he stood before magistrates on Thursday, October 3.

Prosecuting on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Ian Moore said Aston was collectively charged with defrauding £54,805 from a total of 21 customers.

He said the case was not suitable for summary trial at magistrates and should go to Chester Crown Court for the next hearing.

Defending, Stephen Ferns said he could not put forward a feasible argument to have the case tried before magistrates.

Magistrates agreed and Aston was unconditionally bailed pending his next hearing at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, October 31.