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Further to speculative media coverage over the weekend, Wiltshire Police have issued the following statement regarding Operation Conifer, the national investigation into Edward Heath;

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “Operation Conifer, a national investigation that is being led by Wiltshire Police on behalf of the Police Service, continues and we are still following a number of lines of enquiry.

“It is anticipated that the investigation will conclude at some stage this year however we are not in a position to confirm exact details at this time. When this becomes clearer the Force will make a statement outlining its timeline.

“Wiltshire Police would like to reassure persons who have come forward as part of this inquiry that any announcements about the progress and/or conclusion of this investigation will be made by formal announcement by the police as and when appropriate.

“At the conclusion of the investigation a confidential closing report will be written. We have briefed the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and on completion of the investigation we will make available to them our report such that they can consider it relative to the terms of reference of the public inquiry.

“Our approach to public confidence is to be as open and transparent as possible, and at the conclusion of the police investigation the Force will take advice as to what we can legally put in to the public domain. We will also give due consideration to recently published National Police Chief Council advice relating to the publication of investigation reports.

“As this remains a live ongoing investigation, unless there are operational reasons to do so we will not be commenting any further on the operational detail of this case until such time it has concluded.”