A top businessman told a judge of his surprise at being caught up in a High Court row centred on infrastructure business the Stobart Group.

Philip Day, owner of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, said he was "extremely offended" by allegations that he conspired to injure the company.

He told Judge Jonathan Russen that the allegations were "completely unfounded".

Bosses at Stobart, owners of Carlisle Lake District Airport, have sued former chief executive Andrew Tinkler.

They say Cumbrian entrepreneur Mr Tinkler conspired with other businessmen to harm the company's interests.

Mr Tinkler has denied wrongdoing and argues that he was removed from the Stobart board of directors for no good reason.

Judge Jonathan Russen began overseeing a trial earlier this month and finished hearing evidence on Friday.

Lawyers are due to return to court on Thursday to make final legal submissions.

"I understand that the board of the Stobart Group alleges that I was part of an unlawful conspiracy to injure Stobart Group in order to enrich Mr Andrew Tinkler," he told the judge in a written witness statement.

"Those allegations are completely unfounded and I am extremely offended by them."

He said he had earlier this year offered to stand for the Stobart Group chairmanship.

"I simply agreed to stand for chairman and to be put forward for shareholders to decide who they wanted," he said.

"I thought I could bring my wealth of business experience to help Stobart Group.

"The last thing I thought would happen would be that I would be accused of conspiracy in High Court litigation."

He added: "The allegation should never have been made against me."

Mr Day, who owns an estate near Brampton, is one of the most pivotal players in business in Cumbria.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill recently brought hundreds more jobs to Carlisle with the relocation of the company's headquarters to Castle Street in the city centre. The retail tycoon also has a substantial interest in Carlisle United.