Leon Brittan was photographed entering an underage sex den during a police investigation, it has been claimed.
The Tory Lord, who died on Wednesday, is said to have been snapped by officers on a 1986 surveillance operation focusing on rent boy orgies run in North London buildings.
Detectives were watching premises where the boys picked up at King’s Cross were dropped off to be repeatedly raped, say friends of an officer involved.
Big names believed to have been photographed entering the dens included former Home Secretary Brittan, MP Cyril Smith and some top judges.
Sources claim up to 16 high profile figures were due to be arrested.
But the day before the swoops were to be carried out, officers on the investigation, called Operation Orchid, were allegedly told it had been disbanded.
Our sources say it is unclear what happened to the photographs or why the raid was called off.
A friend of the officer on the investigation said: “The rent boys would be driven to flats or garages where large groups of men were waiting.
“These included Brittan and Smith. Pictures were taken as men entered or left buildings where the abuse was taking place.”
The revelations emerge as Brittan’s name is dragged ever deeper into the growing scandal over an alleged cover-up into sex abusers at the highest level of the Establishment in the 1970s
His old friends and colleagues have defended his legacy and called on his accusers to put up evidence or “shut up”.
But a major police investigation into VIP paedophile rings, which includes testimony against Brittan, continues.