Reporter arrested at Buckingham Palace

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The Independent Online

A News of the World reporter has been arrested at Buckingham Palace after apparently applying for a job in the royal household.

Bethany Usher, 25, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of attempting to obtain pecuniary advantage - a charge often relating to supplying false information on an application form for employment.

The News of the World confirmed that Ms Usher was one of its reporters and said that she was "engaged in the legitimate journalistic exercise" of investigating security at the palace.

Ms Usher is understood to have applied for a job as a housekeeping assistant and was attending an interview at Buckingham Palace when she was arrested.

The investigation into the incidentis being carried by the specialist crime operations team, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

She was bailed and will have to return to a police station in early February. Sources at News of the World claimed that Ms Usher had begun her investigation while working for a rival Sunday newspaper, The People. It is alleged that staff at that newspaper tipped off the head of press for the Prince of Wales, Paddy Harverson, about Ms Usher's application.

Mr Harverson would not comment on this allegation, saying only: "How information came into Buckingham Palace or Clarence House's possession is a matter for the police."

A spokesman for Trinity Mirror, which owns The People, also refused to comment on the claims.

The incident follows the case of the Daily Mirror reporter Ryan Parry, who managed to gain employment at Buckingham Palace in 2003. Mr Parry worked for two months as a footman at the royal residence in the run-up to President George Bush's state visit, after supplying false references to palace officials. The Mirror claimed his actions exposed "serious flaws in the £10m security operation to protect Mr Bush".