A FORMER religious teacher is set to stand trial later this year accused of sexually assaulting two boys, aged eight and 11.

Ashraf Sidat, 47, once of Queens Road, Blackburn, but who gave his address in court as c/o Abbey Solicitors, Manchester, appeared in the dock at Preston Crown Court earlier this week and pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13.

The offences are said to have taken place in Blackburn between May 2014 and January 2018.

Sidat had previously worked as a senior religious teacher at the Masjide Noorul Islam, Audley Range, Blackburn.

Sidat, who has also worked as an interpreter for public authorities, was given bail by Judge Philip Parry to appear at the same court on September 14.

A spokesman for Al-Islah Girls School and Noorul Islam Mosque said: “Mr Sidat is no longer a trustee at Al-Islah Girls School having been removed from the role in 2018.

"He is also not involved with the Noorul Islam Mosque or the Madressa.”