Force admits working with press on Sir Cliff search

SOUTH YORKSHIRE Police agreed to “work with” the media as it prepared to carry out a raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home over an historic sexual abuse allegation.

Sir Cliff Richard photograph dated 04/03/68. Pic: PA Wire.

The force released a statement yesterday which said a deal was struck with a news outlet, which it has not named, after members of the press contacted officers with information.

Earlier reports, including an article on The Guardian website, had indicated South Yorkshire Police had initially denied giving prior knowledge of the search to any members of the media.

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It came after Conservative MP Nigel Evans, who was cleared of a string of sex offences after a trial earlier this year, sparked speculation that journalists knew prior details of the search being carried out in the pop legend’s home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

Speaking on breakfast television, Mr Evans said: “It appears the press knew what was happening before he did and the world’s media were camped outside his doorstep.

“Questions have got to be answered.”

The BBC is understood to have had journalists in the area before the five-hour raid on the luxury flat, during which a number of items were seized, began.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “When a media outlet contacted SYP with information about an investigation, we took the decision to work with them in order to protect the integrity of that investigation. Since the search took place a number of people have contacted the police to provide information and we must acknowledge that the media played a part in that, for which we are grateful.”

Thames Valley Police, which assisted in the search, has said talking to the press beforehand.

A statement released yesterday read: “Thames Valley police did not speak to any media outlets prior to the warrant being executed in yesterday. This is a South Yorkshire police investigation and local officers from assisted South Yorkshire officers.”

The Living Doll singer, who was in Portugal when news of the investigation began to spread across the nation, has denied the allegations and dismissed them as “completely false”.