Leyla Harding to depart ITV soap ''Emmerdale'' after almost three years on the Yorkshire based show

Rokhsenah Ghawam-Shahidi is to leave ITV1 soap Emmerdale at the end of her current contract, it has been reported.  The actress who has played Leyla Harding for nearly three years decided not to renew her contract and will film her final scenes later this month.

The Daily Star Sunday reports that Shahidi who first appeared on screens as Leyla in August 2008 has decided to exit the show to pursue new projects. Speaking to the tabloid newspaper, Rokhsenah said: ''I have had an amazing three years at Emmerdale and it has been a tough decision to leave.''

The news comes just before scenes set to air this week which will see Leyla recieve a shock marriage proposal from her boyfriend David Metcalfe played by Matthew Wolfenden. Leyla has been tipped to clash with her sister Alicia Gallagher (Natalie Anderson) who frequently argue over Leyla's biological son Jacob who was raised by Alicia.

Details of feisty Leyla's departure are still unknown but it is expected that her exit will have something to do with her existing storyline with sister Alicia. Rokhsenah's departure is the latest in a string of upcoming cast departures including Corrinne Wicks (Ella Macey), Sapphire Elia (Mia Macey) and Suzanne Shaw (Eve Jenson)