Cliff Richard's home searched over boy sex complaint

Media outside Charters Estate in Berkshire where Cliff Richards has an apartment. Photo / AP
Media outside Charters Estate in Berkshire where Cliff Richards has an apartment. Photo / AP

Police are searching a property in Berkshire belonging to Sir Cliff Richard in relation to an alleged historical sex offence.

Items were removed from the property in the Sunningdale area for investigation. No arrests have been made.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said the allegation involved a boy under the age of 16 and dated from the 1980s in the South Yorkshire area.

Sir Cliff, 73, was not present at the time. He is rumoured to be in Portugal.

The BBC reports that eight plain clothes police officers arrived at the private estate in unmarked cars mid-morning.

Sir Cliff released a statement after widespread media coverage of the search on his home, saying: "For many months I have been aware of allegations against me of historic impropriety which have been circulated online.

"The allegations are completely false. Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen.

"However, the police attended my apartment in Berkshire today without notice, except it would appear, to the press.

"I am not presently in the UK but it goes without saying that I will co-operate fully should the police wish to speak to me.

"Beyond stating that today's allegation is completely false it would not be appropriate to say anything further until the police investigation has concluded."

Thames Valley Police confirmed that it had helped the South Yorkshire force with the execution of a search warrant at the address in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

In a statement, the force said: "South Yorkshire Police has gained entry to a property in the Sunningdale area of Berkshire.

"Officers are currently searching the property.

"A search warrant was granted after police received an allegation of a sexual nature dating back to the 1980s involving a boy who was under the age of 16 at the time.

"No one has been arrested and the owner of the property was not present."

The search is not connected to Scotland Yard's Operation Yewtree, which was set up to investigate allegations in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. Police confirmed officers from that operation had been notified.

Sir Cliff, born Harry Webb, has sold an estimated 21.5 million singles in the UK and 250 million worldwide during a career spanning over 50 years.

He shot to fame in the 1950s with his group The Shadows and was knighted in 1995. Sir Cliff also performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace in 2012 and represented the UK in the Eurovision Song contest twice.

- UK Independent

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