Former Sun South West reporter John Coles cleared after 19 months on police bail

Former Sun South West England reporter John Coles has been cleared after spending some 19 months on police bail following his arrest as part of the Operation Elveden investigation.

Coles, 54, was arrested at his home near Bristol in September 2012 and was today finally told that he will face no charges.

Coles, now an associate news editor at Bristol-based South West News Service, said: "I was always confident of a positive outcome and am delighted for my family that it has finally happened.

"My thoughts and sympathies remain with my former colleagues who are not so fortunate and who have yet to clear their names."

Coles was arrested “on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office”.

A Met police spokesman said at the time that the arrest "came about as a result of information provided to police by News Corporation's management standards committee".

The Met police today issued an update on Coles' case, Elveden arrest number 49:

“The man, a journalist, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977 and suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977. 

“He was later bailed to return to a police station pending further inquiries. On April 23 he was told no further action would be taken.”

At least 63 journalists have been arrested in the UK over the last three years as a result of investigations stemming from the News of the World hacking scandal.

Coles today became the 13th to be cleared.

Sun crime editor Mike Sullivan was cleared in April 2013 after 14 months on police bail.

Sun reporter Rhodri Phillips was cleared after 13 months on police bail August 2013. He was arrested on suspicion of handling a stolen mobile phone which it later emerged he had never even seen.

Sun casual reporter Chris Pollard was cleared in August 2013 after nearly a year on police bail. He was also arrested on suspicion of handling a stolen mobile phone.

Some 23 Sun journalists have been arrested since November 2012, 15 of whom have been charged with criminal offences and 14 are to face trial (the case against Virginia Wheeler was dropped on health grounds).

No Sun journalist has yet been convicted.

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