UK tabloid's ex-crime editor held over 'police bribery'

15th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

British police investigating phone hacking at the News of the World said Thursday they had arrested a woman, reportedly the tabloid's ex-crime editor, on suspicion of paying officers for information.

Police confirmed a 37-year-old woman had been held and subsequently bailed, and media reports named her as the now defunct tabloid's former crime editor, Lucy Panton, who is married to a detective at the London police force.

She was detained at her home in Surrey, southwest of London, at dawn "on suspicion of committing offences involving making payments to police officers for information," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

It added later: "A 37-year-old woman arrested earlier today (Thursday 15 December) under Operation Elveden has been bailed to a date in late April."

She is the seventh person to be arrested as part of an investigation into alleged bribery of police, called Operation Elveden, which was set up alongside a probe into allegations of phone hacking, Operation Weeting.

Police have arrested a string of people on suspicion of illegally accessing mobile phone voicemails, including Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor and ex-communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron.

One person has also been detained as part of a police probe into alleged computer hacking, Operation Tuleta.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World in July after claims that phone hacking at Britain's top-selling weekly was widespread.

Its publisher, News International, insisted for a long time that the practice was limited to one "rogue reporter" -- royal editor Clive Goodman who was jailed alongside private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2007 for hacking.

But it has been forced to admit the practice went wider.

Police said at the weekend the final number of phone-hacking victims will be around 800, based largely on names found in Mulcaire's notes.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article