A GREENOCK man has gone on trial before a jury charged with multiple counts of alleged sexual abuse against young boys dating back to the 1980s.

Andrew Ward is accused of preying on three children during a decade-long period of time, and is said to have begun molesting one boy from the date of alleged victim's ninth birthday.

Ward, 52 — who lives in the east end of the town — is said to have used lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour in committing the alleged offences between August 1 1984 and December 28 1994.

It is claimed that he abused boys at various locations, including Barnard's Court Mission, a flat on Baxter Street, a common close at East Hamilton Street, an address on Maple Road and Netherhall Christian Retreat in Largs.

Ward abused one boy on various occasions between 1984 and 1988 when the child was aged between 11 and 15, it is alleged.

He is accused of rubbing the boy's private parts over and under his clothing, seizing him by the body, throwing him onto a bed and performing a sex act on him.

Ward is said to have indecently assaulted the same child on various occasions between November 1986 and November 1988.

The Crown says he targeted a second boy between the ages of nine and 11, including onboard a Barnard's Court Mission minibus travelling between Auchendarroch Street and East Hamilton Street.

Ward is accused of kissing the alleged victim's face and neck and of repeatedly attempting to induce the boy to touch him intimately.

He is said to have, whilst naked, entered a third child's bed, kissed his neck and ear, removed his upper clothing and molested him by touching his private parts.

A jury of eight men and seven women will hear evidence in the case.

The trial, before Sheriff Michael Higgins, is expected to last up to four days.