Joseph Shade
Former child actor Joseph Shade will be sentenced at a later date Facebook/Joseph Shade

A former EastEnders child actor turned youth worker is facing jail after pleading guilty to a string of sexual offences against girls in his care.

Joseph Shade, 26, who played the part of Peter Beale between 1998 and 2004, admitted five counts of causing or inciting a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust, and one count of sexual activity with a child, while appearing at Norwich Crown Court.

The offences relate to three victims aged 14 and 17 which took place while Shade was working as part of a youth project in Norfolk between 2012 and 2015.

The court heard how Shade had abused his position of power after sending sexually explicit text messages to the girls as well as touching one on the backside.

Shade was previously helped by the youth project, but was taken on as an employee when he turned 18 and went on to engage with "many young people who came from similar backgrounds and vulnerabilities as he had", prosecutor Chris Paxton said, reported the BBC.

Paxton added: "During the course of his employment he accepts by his pleas that his relationships became too close to a number of attendees and he would engage with them by texting them messages asking them to have sex or to send sexual pictures of breasts and the like.

"On one occasion and only one occasion he touched one of them."

Shade had initially denied 11 sexual offence allegations against four girls, but changed his plea for six of the charges involving three victims. The remaining five counts will lie on his file. Shade, of Sheringham, Norfolk, will be sentenced at a later date yet to be decided by the court.

The 26-year-old is one of a number of actors to have played the part of Ian and Cindy Beale's son in the popular BBC soap since he was first introduced in 1993.

Peter Beale
Peter Shade played the part on Peter Beale for six years BBC