A freelance travel writer and former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter accused of sexual offences against children has appeared in court today.

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Michael Souter, of Low Bungay Road, Loddon, Norfolk, was charged with 18 offences relating to boys, plus one offence against a man and one against a woman, earlier this month.

He appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court today where he was ordered to attend the city’s crown court on December 14.

The charges relate to six different boys, including under-14s, and two adults. They include serious sexual offences and indecent assault. The allegations against the 59-year-old date between 1979 and 1999 and are said to have happened in Norfolk.

No pleas were entered.

Defence solicitor Alun Jones, asking that Souter’s passport be returned, after it was removed under bail conditions, said: “My client is a well-known local journalist and is very well-known in the area. He now works as a freelance travel writer.

“It has long been his habit to stay in Spain for the winter.”

The court heard Souter was intending to travel to Australia in January but had yet to confirm his flights.

Mr Jones said: “There are no grounds to believe that Mr Souter is going to abscond.”

District Judge Peter Veits extended Souter’s bail with no restrictions on foreign travel.

Souter will not be allowed any contact with under-16s without the presence of an adult or to contact any witnesses.

Souter was one of the original team recruited by BBC Radio Norfolk when it first opened in 1980 and presented a number of shows.

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