THE men behind the Christmas Lapland New Forest attraction have been committed to stand trial on criminal charges of misleading advertising.

Brothers Victor and Henry Mears appeared before magistrates yesterday for a hearing to decide whether there was enough evidence for the case to be sent for a crown court trial.

They were in court together for the first time after both missed previous hearings through illness or the belief they did not need to attend.

Victor Mears’ defence has told previous hearings he has cancer.

They are being prosecuted over their roles in the Christmas-themed Lapland attraction, which operated at Matchams Park near Ringwood for just a few days in the run up to Christmas 2008 before it closed amid a tidal wave of customer complaints.

Victor Mears, 66, of Selsfield Drive, Brighton, and Henry Mears, 59, of Coombe Road, Brighton, both face the same nine charges.

Dorset County Council trading standards allege the average customer would have been misled by newspaper adverts, flyers and website information about what to expect at the attraction.

The charges relate to the quality of activities at the site, such as the tunnel of light, and allegations the extra charge for the use of the ice rink was not advertised.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. District Judge Roger House, sitting at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court, said the men will next appear at Bournemouth Crown Court on November 30 for a hearing to establish a trial date.