Police are examining a computer, paperwork and a phone found in a bin near the home of the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, it was reported last night.
A bag containing the objects was found yesterday in a car park underneath a shopping centre close to her London home. According to a reports last night, Ms Brooks' husband, Charlie, tried to reclaim the bag from security, but a guard refused to release it when Mr Brooks could not prove it was his.
The guard then called the police, who took the bag away. David Wilson, Mr Brooks' official spokesman, told a newspaper: "Charlie has a bag which contains a laptop and papers which were private to him. They were nothing to do with Rebekah or the [phone hacking] case." Mr Brooks was collecting the bag from a friend who had dropped it in the wrong part of the garage while returning it, he said, adding: "The suggestion is that a cleaner thought it was rubbish and put it in the bin."
In a further development last night, Ms Brooks was faced with the prospect of thousands of people reading her emails after the online activism and hacking group Anonymous released a host of email addresses and passwords it claims belong to senior News International executives past and present, including Ms Brooks. The hackers also defaced The Sun's website, redirecting visitors to a fake site. A News International spokesperson said: "We are aware, and our technical team is working on it."