A MAN sold forged signatures of historical figures such as Winston Churchill and Pablo Picasso before trying to sell them on, a court has heard.

Allan Formhals, from Milford-on-sea, allegedly sold books to Kim Taylor-Smith with signatures of former British prime minister, Winston Churchill, which Mr Formhals claimed had been owned by a World War Two Spitfire pilot Neville Duke.

The 65 year-old man has been charged with 13 counts of fraud between 2009 and 2011, selling books with fake signatures of famous people including Robert Louis Stevenson and Pablo Picasso.

He is also charged with being in possesion of documents with singatures of Marie Anotinette, JRR Tolkien, Elizabeth I and Virginia Woolf.

Prosecutor Simon Edwards, said: "He acquired the books by famous authors, he forged the author's signature inside the books and then sold them on as the genuine article."

Mr Formhals denies the charges.