A BASINGSTOKE teenager will stand trial accused of communicating with two girls under the age of 16, a court has heard.

Joshua Wheeler, of Pennine Way, in Buckskin, has accepted that he communicated with the alleged victims but has denied that this was in a sexual manner.

It is said that Wheeler engaged in sexual communication with at least one of the victim's via Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp.

The 19-year-old appeared via video link at Winchester Crown Court on Wednesday where a trial date of March 1, next year, was scheduled.

Wheeler, who the court heard, has autism, has previously pleaded guilty to facilitating the rape of a child after grooming her.

Defending John Dyer requested the court remove bail to allow for any time that he is in custody to count as time served towards a sentence.

Setting the trial date Judge Susan Evans QC told that Wheeler that he must appear his trial otherwise it could go ahead without him.

The trial will take place at Salisbury Crown Court.