A staggering 12,000 people in Chester are currently cheating on their partner, according to a new survey.

The study by Illicit Encounters, a website for married couples to enjoy affairs, claims the city has 12,105 love cheats.

If true, the figure puts Chester in the same league as Derby (12,500) and higher than York (9,221) but lower than Nottingham (18,995).

Its so-called Infidelity Index also ranks Ellesmere Port as the 75th most adulterous town in the overall list of the top 140 most adulterous towns in the UK with 410 love cheats, as 0.67% of its population are adulterers.

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Runcorn is highlighted as the worst town in Cheshire for cheats with a whopping 1,129 doing the dirty on their other half putting it 7th on the overall list.

Crewe is said to be home to 642 people having an affair. But the village of Malpas is picked out as having the lowest number of adulterers, at just 70.

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Over the border Wrexham comes 55th in the UK table, but is apparently Wales’s cheating capital with 516 adulterers.

IllicitEncounters.com compiled the figures based on the geographical data of its 1m-plus members.

People can input the name of their town or their postcode into their search engine to discover how may people are ‘playing away’ in the area where they live.

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IllicitEncounters.com spokesman Christian Grant said: “More and more people are signing up to the site every year. The reason for the surge in subscriptions is that record numbers of married couples in Cheshire are living together unhappily because they simply cannot afford to divorce.

“Spiralling house prices and living costs have made financially impossible for couples to set up two homes following a split, so they struggle on while seeking excitement elsewhere.”

Illicit Encounters says the overall standings saw High Wycombe ‘crowned the most adulterous town in the UK’, sporting the highest relative percentage of cheaters. It was closely followed by Guildford and Aldershot, which came 2nd and 3rd respectively.