London, Jan. 16 (Reuters): Britain’s hunt for paedophiles took another step forward today as police questioned the former manager of 1970s pop group Bay City Rollers, the latest in a string of showbusiness figures to come under scrutiny.
Two separate lines of inquiry have thrown household names under an ugly spotlight and spawned a media guessing-game over which celebrity will be next. As police in northern England quizzed the Rollers’ Tam Paton, officers in the south pursuing the same child sex investigation questioned one of the country’s most popular TV hosts, Matthew Kelly.
“We have a man being questioned in Surrey; a number of addresses are being searched and a man is being questioned local to his address in Scotland,” a spokeswoman for Surrey police, which co-ordinated the hunt, said today.
She said a man, in his late 50s, was arrested in Edinburgh last night. Sources confirmed he was Tam Paton and said he had been moved across the border to a police station in northern England for questioning.
The arrest was “in connection with historic allegations of sexual abuse against boys under the age of 16,” said a statement.
The Bay City Rollers soared to fame in 1975, sporting trademark tartan-fringed shirts, and often mobbed by hordes of hysterical teenage girls.
Police sources said TV presenter Kelly had been arrested in Birmingham where he had been performing in the children’s pantomime Peter Pan as the villain, Captain Hook.
The swoop comes two days after police in Britain’s largest ever Internet pornography investigation quizzed “Who” guitarist Pete Townshend. Operation Ore has a list of 6,500 suspects and has so far netted 1,300 people.
Townshend, 57, has admitted viewing indecent images of children, but said it was for research into an autobiography as he had been abused himself as a child. He was later released.
Operation Ore, stemming from a US investigation, has led to the arrests of police officers and civil servants and sparked a media guessing-game over which celebrity would be next.
One of Britain’s most notorious offenders is former glam rock star Gary Glitter, who served four months in jail in 1999 for downloading child pornography.