Townshend released on police bail

Pete Townshend has been released on police bail following his arrest yesterday after he admitted that he paid to see child pornography on the internet.

The 57-year-old guitarist with the Who was held on suspicion of possessing, making and inciting the distribution of indecent images of children. Police officers spent several hours searching his home in Richmond, south-west London, as well as a nearby office.

Detectives removed several items including computers before questioning Mr Townshend for an hour and 20 minutes at Twickenham police station. He was released on bail just after midnight and left in the back of a Mercedes. His solicitor, John Cohen, said he had not been charged and had been bailed to a future date when he "may be required to answer some questions".

The arrest comes two days after Mr Townshend issued a statement in which he admitted using his credit card to access a pay-to-view child pornography website on one occasion.

He acknowledged looking at what he described as "child porn sites" three or four times but said he did not download the images of abuse. He insist-ed he was not a paedophile and that he only looked at the illegal sites while doing research for his autobiography.

Yesterday's operation was part of Britain's biggest paedophile inquiry in which 1,300 people have been arrested so far. Mr Townshend's details were on a list of 6,500 people in Britain passed on to the police by US authorities investigating a child pornography site based in Texas. The maximum penalty for possessing indecent images of children is five years' jail and an unlimited fine.

Officers from Scotland Yard's paedophile unit, major investigation team, and child protection units, arrived at Mr Townshend's Georgian mansion at 3pm. Mr Townshend had arrived about 20 minutes earlier and was present during the search.

Phoenix Survivors, a group of child abuse victims, criticised Mr Townshend's statement yesterday. Shy Keenan, theorganisation's spokeswoman, said: "How can anyone find any reason at all to give child molesters money? What is more, what is the difference between molesting a child and paying someone else to do it?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
World Book Day
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot