AN ex-Eastenders star ventured into Clacton to buy Christmas presents for his daughters – but ended up behind the counter.

Dean Gaffney has been in Clacton through December while playing Buttons in the town’s festive pantomime Cinderella.

On Christmas Eve he popped into The Olde Sweet Shop on Pier Avenue, and was persuaded to become the store’s celebrity shopkeeper.

Shop owner Peter Serghiou said: “One of the cast members from the panto came in to ask us about what sort of thing we do the day before Christmas Eve.

“The next day he came back with Dean Gaffney. It was a big shock to see him come through the door.

“It’s not every day we get a household name in here.

“He wanted a hamper for his daughters. I said he could have it for free if he stuck around and helped me serve some of the customers for a little while, and he agreed.

“He was a really nice chap, down to earth and had a good laugh with us.”

Dean played Robbie Jackson in Eastenders for 11 years, first appearing on the show in 1993.