A PHOTOGRAPHER has denied taking money for photoshoots of soldiers, some of whom were killed in Afghanistan, which he never produced.

John Hardy pleaded not guilty at Northallerton Magistrates Court to eight charges of fraud and two charges of theft between June 2011 and September 2013.

The charges included three allegations of taking cash deposits in excess of £14,000 for photos of battalions at Vimy and Gaza barracks, Catterick Garrison.

Mr Hardy is accused of failing to pay family-run photography firm H Tempest Ltd, of Melsonby Richmond more than £14,000.

The 44-year-old is also charged with entering into an agreement with Victoria Prints, of Colburn, near Catterick Garrison, to frame photographs, but did not pay for them in an attempt to make £9,000.

It is alleged Mr Hardy hired staging equipment for regimental photographs without paying for the hire and agreed to pay photographer Paul Booth, of North Cowton, near Darlington, £1,500 to take photographs of the Parachute Regiment training on Salisbury Plain, but only paid him £750.

Mr Hardy, of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, is also charged with stealing canera equipment worth £3,340 belonging to H Tempest Ltd and a camera worth £4,000, while at The Infantry Training Centre, Catterick Garrison, from Mr Booth.

The case was transferred for a hearing at Teesside Crown Court on March 20 and Mr Hardy was granted unconditional bail.