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Carter advertised works which he claimed were by such painters as Alfred Wallis and John Brett, through his two websites and gallery in Hayle, Cornwall.

One such work, a painted glass float, Carter advertised online as being "the single most desirable and tactile Wallis work we have ever seen" and priced at up to £60,000.

An investigation was launched by the Cornwall branch of Trading Standards after a customer became suspicious about the authenticity of a work claimed to be by Wallis which she had bought from Carter in 2011. The investigation revealed that the work was one of six that Carter had purchased online between 2009 and 2011.

Alex Greenwood, prosecuting, said: "Nothing compatible with acceptable provenance was obtained by the defendant, he knew that. The paintings were bought for a fraction of the sale price."

Carter was granted unconditional bail to appear before the court on July 16.