Shameless star Tina Malone was taken away in handcuffs after a panto performance on Friday after staff at a theatre in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, reportedly told police that she had been taking cocaine.

The actress, 54, has been playing the evil fairy godmother Carabosse in a production of Sleeping Beauty at the Cloud 9 theatre.

As she came off stage she heard a rumour police had been tipped off that she was using cocaine during rehearsals and performances, a source told the Daily Mirror.

"She tried to get a taxi, but police stopped her in time and took her inside the venue to search her," the source said.

They added that, "she begged the police not to handcuff her, and seemed very worried."

Malone's four-year-old daughter was also reportedly in the audience when the incident happened.

Malone is best-known for playing Mimi Maguire in the hit Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless, but has also had prominent roles in Brookside and Dinnerladies.

She was starring in the production of Sleeping Beauty alongside Big Brother contestant Ellie Young, who was playing the princess.