THREE defendants will stand trial later this year after pleading not guilty to charges linked to a police probe into human trafficking in Warrington.

Augustin Marin, 46, of Cobden Street, Orford, and Ionut Constantina, 39, and Mihaela Constantina, 40, both of Hardy Street, Orford, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday where they were asked to enter pleas to the charges.

The suspects were arrested after officers were deployed to Winwick Road on June 6 over concerns for the welfare of a 20-year-old woman near McDonald's at 10.30pm.

Following the arrests, the victim was supported by specialist officers but she has since returned to Romania, the court heard.

Ionut Constantina and Marin appeared via a video link from HMP Liverpool while Michaela Constantina could listen and watch the proceedings via a video link from HMP Styal with the help of a Romanian interpretor. 

Ionut and Michaela Constantina pleaded not guilty to arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation between April 1 to June 6.

All three defendants, who were remanded into custody ahead of the trial, denied holding a person in servitude and also controlling prostitution for gain during the same time period.

The court heard a number of electronic items including a mobile phone and computer had been seized following the arrest.

A trial date was set for December 4 at Liverpool Crown Court by Judge Elizabeth Nicholls.

The trial is expected to last five to seven days with a pre-trial hearing set for November 17.