TWO people arrested as part of an investigation into allegations of child abuse made against former prime minister Sir Edward Heath have been released.

The police probe, named Operation Conifer, was launched in 2015 after Sir Edward was named as a suspect in an investigation into historical child sex abuse.

The force said the two unnamed individuals were arrested in connection with child protection issues but that they could not comment on when.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: "Two people had been arrested in relation to Operation Conifer. Both have now been released without charge at this time."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched a probe into alleged historical corruption after information from a retired officer raised concerns that Wiltshire Police deliberately caused a criminal prosecution to fail in 1994.

Last year, the probe found no evidence that a prosecution against a brothel keeper was dropped because of threats to allege publicly that Sir Edward had been involved in sexual offences.

Sir Edward, who led the Conservative government between 1970 and 1974, died at home in Salisbury in July 2005, aged 89.

In December the chief constable of Wiltshire Police, Mike Veale, wrote a public letter to "set the record straight" about the investigation.

He described the former Conservative prime minister as an "extremely prominent, influential and high profile person" and said the decision to undertake the "incredibly complex and challenging investigation" was "not taken lightly".

Mr Veale said the probe was "complex and multi-stranded" and was "not a fishing trip or witch hunt".

He stressed he took his responsibilities of operational independence "very seriously" and said he would not be "buckling under pressure not to investigate or to conclude the investigation prematurely".

The letter came after the findings of a report, carried out by Dr Rachel Hoskins who was enlisted by detectives to examine evidence in Wiltshire Police's inquiry, were revealed.

Writing in The Mail On Sunday in November, she said she had "exposed a catalogue of fabrication" at the heart of the probe and warned the force it should immediately end its investigation into a key accuser's "pernicious" claims of satanic ritual abuse.

The leading criminologist also branded the inquiry "a disgrace" and said that, while the force had accepted her report, she had "little confidence" police would pass the findings on to MPs.

Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor was investigated as part of Operation Midland and cleared of being part of a Westminster paedophile ring.

He said: "The only tangible evidence that Operation Conifer was cost effective in police eyes - the arrest of two people - has blown up in chief constable Veale's face.

"It is probably connected with the new law on the length of bail (28 days) getting in the way of Wiltshire Police's PR campaign to justify an inquiry which started with an ex-police detective casting aspersions on the dropping of a court case.

"This was investigated by the IPCC, dropped, but strangely not admitted by Veale when he wrote his open letter to the media attempting, he said, to set the record straight."

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Two people had been arrested in relation to Operation Conifer, both have now been released without charge at this time.

“Operation Conifer remains a live investigation and we will not be commenting further.”