Emmerdale star Lucy Pargeter has announced the birth of her twin girls, who were born on Thursday, April 13

Emmerdale star Lucy Pargeter and partner Rudi Coleano welcomed their twin girls to the world earlier this month.

The actress plays Chastity Dingle in ITV soap Emmerdale and already has a daughter with partner Rudi. Lola, aged 11, is said to be delighted at becoming a big sister.

A spokeswoman for Emmerdale said: “Lucy Pargeter and Rudi Coleano are delighted to announce the birth of their twin girls, who were born on Thursday April 13.

“All are happy and healthy and Lola is delighted to have finally become a big sister.”

Lucy, 40, has played village favourite Chastity Dingle in the ITV soap since 2002.

The actress’s character has been temporarily written out of the Yorkshire Dales soap while she is on maternity leave. Chas has been taking care of Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele), her son Aaron’s (Danny Miller) half-sister while he is in prison,  as her mother lives in Ireland. She decided to take Liv to see her mother after she had an accident.

Lucy said recently: “It’ll be me gone for a while, but not too long, depending. I’ll be back very soon. Fictionally, I’m in Ireland, having a lovely summer.”

The twins were due on 3 May, but were born three weeks prematurely. Twins are rarely allowed to go over 37 weeks due to potential complications at birth.

Lucy has been engaged to Rudi, a football goal-keeping coach, for 12 years. The couple announced Lucy’s pregnancy last year after years without success. The actress tried IVF in 2015 which was unsuccessful, but she was delighted the second treatment was a success.

She has starred in Emmerdale since 2002 and took part in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in 2013.