A TOP police boss has denied allegations of a health and safety breach in connection to an unarmed odd-job man shot dead in Culcheth by one of his officers.

Sir Peter Fay, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, is accused of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 over the shooting of Anthony Grainger in March 2012.

The former chief constable of Cheshire Police did not appear in the dock at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court, where the plea was made on his behalf by Anne Whyte QC, representing GMP.

Sir Peter has been charged as the ''corporation sole'' for the force, a legal status that means he is a representative of GMP but does not share criminal liability.

It is alleged that on or before March 3 2012, as an employer, he "failed to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure as far as reasonably practicable" that the planning for "the police action leading to the intended arrest" of Mr Grainger did not expose him to a health or safety risk.

Prosecutor Karen Robinson argued that the appropriate venue for the trial to be heard was a Crown Court.

She noted that an unlimited fine could be imposed if there was a conviction and it was found that the actions led to a death.

The maximum fine for a summary conviction at a magistrates' court would be £20,000.

District Judge Howard Riddle sent the case to Southwark Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on February 20.

Father-of-two Mr Grainger, aged 36, from Bolton, was shot by a GMP marksman after his car was stopped as part of a planned operation in Culcheth.

He was unarmed and there were no weapons in the car.

The marksman responsible will face no action.