Hacking arrest: Former Coulson deputy held

Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis was arrested today over phone hacking at the newspaper, sources said.

Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis was arrested today over phone hacking at the newspaper, sources said.

Wallis, 60, was held at his home in west London by detectives from Operation Weeting, the Scotland Yard investigation into mobile interceptions by the Sunday tabloid.

He became deputy editor of the News of the World in 2003 and served under Andy Coulson’s editorship before becoming the paper’s executive editor in 2007.

Mr Coulson, 43, who was Downing Street communications chief until January this year, was himself arrested by Operation Weeting officers on Friday over alleged phone hacking and illegal payments to police.

He was released on bail until October.

Wallis, who lives in Chiswick, west London, joined Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper group News International in 1986, rising to become deputy editor of the Sun.

He was editor of Sunday tabloid the People from 1998 until he joined the News of the World five years later.

After leaving newspapers, he started working for entertainment PR firm the Outside Organisation in 2009.

He is also a former member of the editors’ code of practice committee of the Press Complaints Commission, the British newspaper industry’s self-regulating body that has been accused by politicians of being too weak to tackle serious journalistic malpractice.

Wallis is the ninth person arrested since the Metropolitan Police launched a fresh investigation into phone hacking in January.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “At 6.30am this morning officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Operation Weeting team arrested a 60-year-old man at a residential address in London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977.

“The man is currently in custody at a west London police station.

“It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details at this time.”

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