A couple from St Albans has appeared in court accused of inflating the balance sheets of collapsed café chain Patisserie Valerie.

Ex-chief financial officer Christopher Marsh, 49, and his wife Louise Marsh, 55, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning, charged with dishonestly inflating the cash on Patisserie Valerie’s balance sheets between 2015 and 2018, and misleading banks Barclays and HSBC.

Former financial controller Pritesh Mistry, 41, and financial consultant Nileshkumar Lad, 50, were also charged with the offences.

Mr Marsh faces an additional count of publishing a statement with intent to deceive members or creditors, and Ms Marsh faces a single count of conspiracy to defraud.

Mr Marsh, Lad and Mistry have also each been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud, five counts of fraud by false representation, and one count of making or supplying documents used for fraud.

The four defendants sat next to each other in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court where they spoke only to confirm their names and addresses.

The quartet are accused of inflating profits, hiding debts, and presenting bogus figures in Patisserie Valerie's annual accounts and public statements.

None of the defendants was asked to enter any pleas, and the case will be heard at Southwark Crown Court on November 7.

All four defendants were granted with conditional bail, and ordered not to contact each other. However, this did not apply for Christopher and Louise Marsh, who live together.