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Friends rally around Harris as media start to swarm

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Harris denies sex offence accusations

Suspect in sex offences named by British tabloid as Australian performer Rolf Harris has denied accusations after his arrest in March.

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Rolf Harris' family has rallied around him as he spent the day besieged by media, after The Sun newspaper named him as a suspect in alleged sex offences.

Channel 5 in Britain announced it had cancelled the scheduled screenings of two of his shows: Olive the Ostrich and repeats of Rolf's Animal Clinic.

''While this legal matter involving Rolf Harris is ongoing we have removed [the programs] from the schedule,'' the station said.

Allegations of sex abuse: Rolf Harris.

Allegations of sex abuse: Rolf Harris. Photo: Supplied

He is understood to have strongly denied the allegations, which are reportedly historic in nature.

Early on Friday morning, a sleepy-voiced Harris answered the front gate intercom at his home near the picturesque town of Bray in Berkshire.

Asked if he had anything to say about The Sun's report, he simply said ''no comment'' and rang off.

As the media pack outside his house grew he was visited by friends and family. One visitor arrived with a bunch of flowers. Another carried a bag of shopping.

As one of them talked on the intercom she was told by a female voice from inside the house ''don't tell them anything''.

A furious neighbour shouted at the cameras: ''He didn't do it - and if he did it doesn't matter.'' Another said: ''He's done nothing wrong and you should be ashamed of yourselves.''

One visitor came to drop a note in Harris' letterbox and said afterwards: ''He's a wonderful man and it's a load of baloney.''

An elderly man with a briefcase who visited for about half an hour was asked on leaving how the family were coping. He replied ''I think they are fairly used to it''.

A woman identified by the Evening Standard as Harris' wife, Alwen, said: ''We don't know what's going on, we can't talk.''

Harris' agent and lawyers have maintained their silence on the accusations.

Police previously said they had arrested a then-82 year-old man as part of Operation Yewtree, set up to investigate abuse allegations against BBC personality Jimmy Saville and others.

Harris' home was raided last November, and he was interviewed by police. Then in March, days before his 83rd birthday, he was arrested and interviewed again.

He was bailed pending further inquiries.

Scotland Yard has declined to officially name the man. However The Sun revealed it was the beloved entertainer.

The mainstream media had until now decided not to name Harris. But after The Sun published its story, other media organisations followed its lead.

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