Mirror and Star journalists arrested in payments probe bailed

 

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The Independent Online

Two journalists arrested by detectives investigating corrupt payments to public officials have been released on bail, Scotland Yard said.

Justin Penrose, crime correspondent of the Sunday Mirror, and Tom Savage, deputy news editor of the Daily Star Sunday, were questioned at separate police stations on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

The latest arrests mean 41 people have been arrested by detectives on Operation Elveden, the investigation into suspected corrupt payments to public officials.

It is being run alongside Operation Weeting, the Scotland Yard probe into phone hacking.

Both men have been bailed to a date in October pending further inquiries, police said.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said last night: "A 37-year-old man was arrested at his home in Kent and a 34-year-old man at his home in south-east London at approximately 6am this morning, on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt (contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906) and of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office (Contrary to Common Law).

"The two, both journalists, were taken to police stations in Kent and south-east London.

"Both have now been bailed to return pending further inquiries to the same police stations on dates in October."

Penrose has worked for the Sunday Mirror since 2004, and was made crime correspondent in 2006.

In evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, Penrose said the newspaper never paid police for stories.

In a written statement, addressing the question of what ethical issues need to be held in mind by a journalist communicating with the police, he said: "The main ethical issue is that we never pay police officers for stories or seek to put the police in a position where they feel that they should provide information to us in exchange for anything that they consider that they are getting from us."

He also warned that there was a "climate of fear" stopping officers talking to the Press.

He wrote: "I believe that officers should be allowed to speak to the Press about their cases without the fear that they are going to be accused of corruption. At the moment there is a climate of fear in which officers are too scared to talk to the Press."

Trinity Mirror said officers searched Penrose's desk yesterday and took away "various items", including his computer.

PA