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Coronation Street's Bill Roache Arrested

Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has been arrested over historical allegations of sexual assault.

The actor, who has played Ken Barlow in the TV soap since its launch in 1960, was held at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, this morning.

Mr Roache, 81, faces two allegations of raping the same 15-year-old girl in Haslingden, Lancashire, between April and July 1967.

Sky News Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said: "According to neighbours, plain clothes police arrived at his home in Wilmslow at around 8am. His home is being searched and police are questioning him about historical allegations."

An ITV spokeswoman said the broadcaster was not in a position to comment, but it is understood Mr Roache will not appear in the long-running soap while investigations continue.

Coronation Street bosses are also deciding whether to re-edit scenes featuring Mr Roache, which are due to be aired later this week.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "An 81-year-old man from Wilmslow in Cheshire has this morning, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, been arrested by Lancashire Constabulary on suspicion of rape.

"The man will be interviewed at a police station in Lancashire during the course of the day.

"We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse, or anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge they will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity."

After his Coronation Street co-star Michael Le Vell was charged with 19 child sex offences, Mr Roache called for anonymity for those accused of such crimes because of the stigma they face even if innocent.

Speaking to Sky News in March, he said: "If there is to be anonymity for the accusers at this stage, then there should most certainly be anonymity for those accused, until such time as there is strong evidence to show that there was some truth to the allegations at least."

Le Vell, who will not appear as mechanic Kevin Webster while he awaits his trial, has stated publicly that he is innocent and will fight the allegations.