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BBC in another crisis over Cliff raid: Police fury at TV chiefs who screened dramatic swoop

  • BBC showed footage of police officers raiding Cliff Richard’s home
  • The BBC was plunged into a new crisis last night after it was publicly blasted by police over its role in the shock Sir Cliff Richard sex abuse investigation. In an extraordinary attack on the broadcaster’s standards, furious South Yorkshire Police accused the Corporation of breaking its own guidelines.

    The force took the highly unusual step of announcing it had written an official letter of complaint to Director-General Lord Tony Hall over the Corporation’s controversial coverage of the case.

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    The BBC caused a sensation with its coverage when the star’s Berkshire penthouse was searched for five hours last week.

    The force revealed it had been contacted ‘weeks ago’ by a BBC reporter who had found out about their ongoing top-secret investigation into shock allegations that Sir Cliff had sexually assaulted a boy at a 1980s concert.

    In an astonishing statement published late yesterday, police said they had been ‘reluctant’ to co-operate with the broadcaster but believed if they did not, the BBC would run the story anyway, potentially jeopardising the highly sensitive investigation.

    South Yorkshire Police admitted striking an unprecedented deal whereby the BBC would be given exclusive information in advance of the raid – allowing them to show it live on TV – ‘in return for delaying publication’ of their story.

    Sir Cliff – who strongly denies the allegations – also expressed anger that the BBC was tipped off about the search before he was.