Media: The Tricks Of The Tabloid Trade: Sleazy stings and betrayals

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The Independent Culture
Route one: the sting

Anna Cox, 17, told The Sun of her affair with Tory MP Piers Merchant. They paid her pounds 20,000 and photographed him kissing her. The MP claimed he had been set up. When he resumed his affair a former Tory worker told the Sunday Mirror, for pounds 25,000. It assigned four reporters, two photographers. He resigned.

Route two: the cash-in

Ron Davies' ex-wife Anne and her present partner contacted Max Clifford. He negotiated with several tabloids, the MoS eventually paying a reported pounds 80,000, Clifford taking 20 per cent. He also got thousands more from the News of the World for two men who claimed they met Davies in public toilets.

Route three: the investigation

The News of the World said two photographers "happened" to be outside Robin Cook's flat when he came out to fill a parking meter. The car belonged to his secretary Gaynor Regan; the paper had a story. More likely, Cook was victim of a stake-out after a tip he was having an affair.

Route four: the betrayal

Antonia de Sancha's landlord legally bugged conversations with David Mellor and got the Sunday People interested. He then ran an extension to a reporter on the patio below. A bug transmitting to a receiver in the garden was behind a picture in the flat. Even the downstairs neighbour was involved.

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