FORMER radio and television presenter Peter Rowell has appeared before magistrates in Yate accused of a string of child sex offences.

Mr Rowell, 53, of Amberley Way in Wickwar, is charged with 14 counts of indecent assault and possessing and making indecent images of children.

He faces seven charges of indecent assault against two girls under the age of 16. The incidents are said to have happened between 1989 and 1992 in a GWR studio and one in car.

He is also accused of six counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing indecent images of children.

Mr Rowell did not enter a plea at North Avon Magistrates’ Court in Yate on Friday but is expected to deny all the charges.

Mr Rowell, who left court with his wife Mirinda, was granted conditional bail until June 20 when he will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court for a committal hearing. He was told he must remain at his home in Wickwar unless accompanied by an appropriate adult.

Mr Rowell sparked a nationwide search in April after failing to turn up for work. His car was found at the Morrisons supermarket in Yate and he was said to be depressed following the death of his father. He was found the following day in the Lake District. The former ITV news presenter moved back to the BBC last year as presenter of Radio Bristol’s afternoon show.

A BBC spokeswoman said Mr Rowell was no longer employed by the corporation as his contract had come to the end of its term.