Fresh claims of sexual abuse have been made against late TV presenter Sir Jimmy Savile, following allegations that he preyed on children during hospital visits.

A string of police forces said members of the public have come forward to make complaints. They have been referred to Scotland Yard, which is leading the investigation.

Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Tayside are the latest forces to say that allegations have been made.

Claims have also emerged that Savile groped young patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, where he worked as a volunteer fundraiser, while one woman alleged that she saw him molest a brain-damaged hospital patient at Leeds General Hospital.

The raft of allegations against Savile has been branded a ‘cesspit’ by BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten, who pledged to hold an independent inquiry as swiftly as possible after the police investigation.

He also suggested that director-general George Entwistle could make a prominent apology, possibly on prime-time television, on behalf of the BBC, once the claims have been unravelled.

As more allegations emerged, Savile’s headstone was removed from his grave in Scarborough because his family said they want to pay ‘respect to public opinion’.

The Savile Hall conference venue in his home city Leeds will also be renamed.

Police believe the Jim’ll Fix It presenter could have abused as many as 25 victims over a period of 40 years, and have so far formally recorded a number of criminal allegations including rape and indecent assault.