THREE former company directors have been charged with fraud offences in connection with a collapsed investment scheme which allegedly lost investors millions of pounds.

The Bournemouth company Ethical Forestry Ltd operated tree plantations in Costa Rica.

It is claimed 3,500 investors lost more than £12,000 each.

Ethical Forestry Ltd collapsed in 2015, triggering an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

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Matthew Pickard, 53, Stephen Greenaway, 45, and Paul Laver, 44, are all charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of fraudulent trading.

The men will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 28 June.

The SFO said for more than eight years the company operated tree plantations in Costa Rica and sold investments in fast-growing hard wood saplings - a return was offered once trees were logged and sold.

It is alleged investors, many of whom used funds from personal pensions, lost millions of pounds.