Police complain to BBC over Cliff Richard search

AFP
A BBC cameraman films outside a gate leading into a private estate in Sunningdale, west of London, in which pop singer Cliff Richard owns an apartment that was search by police on August 14, 2014
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London (AFP) - South Yorkshire Police complained to the BBC over the broadcaster's coverage of the search carried out at pop star Cliff Richard's home on Thursday.

In a statement, the police force said it had been forced to cooperate with the BBC in its investigation over fears it would lose evidence.

Questions were raised about how the BBC was already at Richard's house in Sunningdale, Berkshire, when eight officers arrived to conduct the search.

The BBC says it followed "normal journalistic practice".

The force said a BBC reporter contacted them weeks ago, saying that he knew an investigation was underway.

"The force was reluctant to co-operate but felt that to do otherwise would risk losing any potential evidence, so in the interests of the investigation it was agreed that the reporter would be notified of the date of the house search in return for delaying publication of any of the facts," said the statement.

Police searched the property belonging Richard, 73, as part of an investigation into an allegation of abuse against a boy decades ago.

Richard on Thursday strongly denied allegations of sexual impropriety.

The 73-year-old, a pop star since the 1950s who won fame with songs such as "Devil Woman" and "Living Doll", said the allegations were "completely false".

Richard was not present when police officers conducted a five-hour search of his apartment.

Richard has sold more than 250 million records over his career and is nicknamed the Peter Pan of Pop for his enduring youthful looks.

A committed Christian who shunned the sex, drugs and alcohol lifestyle, Richard in 1995 became the first British rock star to be knighted.

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