Family friendly pop star Sir Cliff Richard is the latest high profile entertainer to fall under the attention of the Operation Yewtree police swoop that has ensnared a number of British entertainers in historic sex abuse claims.
The star’s Berkshire home was searched by South Yorkshire Police, in connection with an allegation of sexual assault involving a boy who was under 16 at the time and which dates back to the 1980s. Police were at his home for over five hours and took away items packed into metal boxes and taken for examination.
The allegations evidently relate to a claim about an incident at a rally held by Christian evangelist Billy Graham in Sheffield and have been hotly denied by Sir Cliff, who is currently in his home in Portugal.
With a career spanning more than six decades, Sir Cliff, who is a committed Christian has sold more than 250 million records worldwide.
In 1996, he addressed rumours about his sexuality when he insisted: “I’m aware of the rumours, but I’m not gay.”
Operation Yewtree predominantly involves the abuse of children, against the British media personality Jimmy Savile and other entertainers. The investigation, led by the Metropolitan Police Service, started in October 2012. After a period of assessment it became a full criminal investigation, involving inquiries into living people as well as Savile.