UK & World News

  • 14 August 2014, 14:15

Cliff Richard's Home Searched Over Sex Claim

Police are searching Sir Cliff Richard's home in connection with a sex offence allegation dating back to the 1980s in Sheffield - which the singer has dismissed as "completely false".

South Yorkshire Police officers have gained entry to the star's private art deco estate in the Sunningdale area of Berkshire and arrived there without any warning.

A search warrant was granted after a historical allegation of a sexual nature was made 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 force said.

Speaking out as officers continued to search his home, Sir Cliff said: "For many months I have been aware of allegations against me of historic impropriety which have been circulating online. The allegations are completely false."

"Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the false 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," added the 73-year-old, who was knighted in 1995.

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said Sir Cliff was not warned about the search by officers, who have removed several items from the singer's house.

"Police say they didn't have to break in. They went there with a search warrant. They were let in by, presumably, somebody who is looking after the house," he said.

"Last week, Sir Cliff was at his home in Portugal where he held a concert at his wine estate.

"He owns a vast property there with a vineyard where he produces wine.

"We don't know if he is still there, but he has said in the past that he spends his summers in Portugal and his winters in Barbados, where he owns another property.

"Police have given very few details of the allegation, but I am told it is said to have happened in Sheffield.

"They do suggest that more information will be given if a suspect is arrested.

"One other thing to point out is that this isn't part of Scotland Yard's investigation into historic sex crimes - Operation Yewtree - launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

"Whether the initial allegation was made to the Metropolitan Police and passed on to South Yorkshire, that's a possibility. But this is very much a South Yorkshire Police investigation," he added.

Sir Cliff was born Harry Webb in Lucknow, India, in 1940. His hits include Summer Holiday and The Young Ones.