| Pete Townshend at his home in Richmond, London. (AFP)
London, Jan. 13 (Reuters): Police combating paedophilia searched today the house of British rock star Pete Townshend, who has admitted to viewing Internet child pornography but only in the name of research.
Carrying a box with envelopes, plastic bags and Polaroid film, officers from the Child Protection Command entered The Who guitarist’s house in the afternoon, witnesses said.
A spokesman for London’s Scotland Yard police confirmed a search warrant was being executed at a home in London.
“The search is ongoing, we’re not prepared to discuss it further and there have been no arrests at this stage,” he said.
After a newspaper reported that an unnamed rock star was being investigated by police as part of a major child pornography inquiry, Townshend admitted in a statement on Saturday that he had gone online to research the subject.
The Operation Ore inquiry has resulted in more than 1,300 arrests in Britain and is partly based on information supplied by American law enforcement agencies.
UK media have hinted that some British politicians may be under suspicion.
Before police turned up at his home, Townshend, 57, told the Sun newspaper he wanted police to search his computer to prove he was only looking at websites for investigative purposes.
Townshend said he has worked “tirelessly” to help the abused but had been foolish to wage a one-man battle against child pornography. “I would be prepared to have the hard drive of my computer analysed by the police,” he was quoted as saying.
“It is important they are able to convince themselves that, if I did anything illegal, I did it purely for research. I am not a paedophile.”
Townshend said he had once paid to enter a site.
“I have looked at child porn sites maybe three or four times in all, the front pages and previews,” he told the Sun.
“But I have only entered once using a credit card and I have never downloaded... With hindsight, it was very foolish but I felt so angered about what was going on it blurred my judgment.”