A former soap actor is to stand in front of judges after being accused of sexually abusing four teenage girls.

Joseph Shade, 24, who played Peter Beale in the soap in the late 90s to the early noughties, denies 11 counts of sexual abuse.

The former actor turned youth worker stands accused of sexual offences against four girls aged between 13 and 17, with the alleged offending taking place between 2012 – 2015.

The defendant, who is currently out on bail, denies six counts of causing or inciting a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust, four counts of causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and one count of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

Shade, who resides at Cliff Road in Norfolk, is to appear at in front of a panel at Norwich Crown Court for a trial which is estimated to go the distance over five to six days.

Shade portrayed Peter Beale in Walford from 1998 until 2004.

Peter Beale is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders who has been played by six actors since being introduced in 1993.

Francis Brittin-Snell portrayed the role from 1993 to 1996, followed by Alex Stevens from 1997 to 1998 and Joseph Shade from 1998 to 2004. James Martin took over and played the role from 2004 to 2006. He was played by Thomas Law from 2006 until 2010 when the character departed the series.

On 19 April 2013, it was announced that Peter would return, this time played by Ben Hardy who made his first appearance on 7 June 2013. Hardy announced his departure from the role on 19 November 2014, making his final on screen appearance on 24 February 2015.