Here is just one of many ways to do this:
Duplicate the text and precompose it. The precomp has transparency, and you can animate multiple instances of AE's Simple Choker combined with Roughen Edges. Use this precomp as a track matte for the text.
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Most "Text to Sand" tutorials will explain things sufficiently...
Thanks guys, I've tried out the roughen edges before but need to get the middle of the letters alpharing out too, and of course the text to sand tuts.