Neville Thurlbeck was official police informant

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The Evening Standard found an intriguing new line on the phone-hacking scandal yesterday – dredged up from a 2000 report in Press Gazette yesterday.

It reported on a court case in 2000 in which former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and detective constable Richard Farmer were charged with corruption over their relationship.

Apparently the pair would exchange information, so much so that Thurlbeck was official police source 281 and an unpaid employee of the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

After his acquittal on the charges Thurlbeck told Press Gazette: “When you deal with police officers in 2000, the currency is information not money … The News of the World crime desk receives a huge amount of information about criminal activity – and the police have always been eager to tap into that resource. In return policemen give information to us. That is our most valuable currency.”

Thurlbeck is one of a number of individuals who have been arrested and release on police bail after being questioned in connection with new allegations of phone-hacking.

In her evidence to MPs yesterday, Rebekah Brooks said that journalists and police officers had a “symbiotic relationship of exchanging information for public interest”.

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