A GREAT Lever man accused of the multiple rape of a seven-year-old girl has made his first appearance at court.

Michael Nicholls, aged 32, formerly of Alder Grove, Bradshaw, now living at Ainsdale Road, Great Lever, faces five charges of raping the girl.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between May and September 2004 in Blackpool.

Prosecutor Claire Harris asked for the case to be heard at crown court.

Defence lawyer, Martin Hillson, said his client would not indicate pleas to the offences at this stage.

Nicholls was bailed to appear at Preston Crown Court on September 3 by District Judge Huw Edwards sitting at Blackpool Magistrates' Court.

He must not have any unsupervised contact with children under 18 or enter Blackpool except for pre-arranged appointments with his lawyers as conditions of his bail.