A YOUTH leader is alleged to have sexually assaulted young girls while on day trips to a North Berwick beach, a court heard.

Peregrine Burgess is also facing allegations of voyeurism against the youngsters after it was claimed he made them drink excessive amounts of water and then held them and watched them urinate.

Burgess is also alleged to have sexually assaulted adult women at various medical centres while he was employed as a dietician with NHS Borders.

Burgess, from Peebles, is currently standing trial on indictment at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where he denies a total of 28 charges against him.

Last week, the court heard from several young girls who claimed that Burgess would take them on youth group day trips and force them to urinate while he watched on.

One witness, now aged 14, told how Burgess was in charge of a youth group from the Scottish Borders.

The girl said he would regularly take groups of children on days out and she was taken to a beach near to North Berwick between February 2012 and December 2013.

She told the court that on one occasion she and friends had gone swimming and were drying off when Burgess helped pull her tights up.

He then took her out of sight for her to go to the toilet but as she did so Burgess touched her on the legs for three minutes while she said he also touched her crotch area for about five minutes.

She claimed he then forced her to go to the toilet again after parking up in a lay-by following the beach trip.

She said: “I was told I was going [to the toilet] and my tights were pulled down by Peregrine Burgess. I was then held by him and [while I urinated] he was looking.

“He held me [in his arms] for about 10 seconds, then he helped me pull my tights up.”

The girl also told of a second incident where she claimed Burgess touched her on the thigh “multiple times and for long periods” after he had taken her and a friend to the cinema in Galashiels.

The schoolgirl told the court that she did not tell her parents at the time as she had been left “terrified” and “disgusted” following the alleged incidents.

A second alleged victim, now aged 13, also gave evidence to the court that she had been on a trip to an unknown East Lothian beach while she was aged eight or nine, some time between July 2013 and July 2015.

The schoolgirl said that there were no toilets at the beach and Burgess accompanied her on one occasion as she went to urinate at the side of the beach.

She said: “I took everything off from the bottom half. He was still [standing] at the side of me.”

She added she felt “a bit weird” about Burgess being so close to her but said she did not see him looking at her.

Further charges include Burgess allegedly pinching one woman with a set of callipers and pulling her clothing down at Galashiels Health Centre.

While the dietician also faces allegations of pinching another woman’s breasts and buttocks and asking another woman to remove her clothes and urinate in a cup while he worked at Borders General Hospital.

Burgess is facing a total of 28 charges – involving 19 alleged victims – relating to inducing children to urinate for him and watching them, sexual assault and making sexual comments to minors.

All the offences are alleged to have been carried out between June 1, 2012, and May 31 last year.

Burgess is currently suspended from his position as a dietician at NHS Borders by the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) after the allegations surfaced during an appearance at Selkirk Sheriff Court two years ago.

The trial is expected to last four weeks.