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The Associated Press December 15, 2011, 7:06AM ET

UK crime reporter arrested in corruption inquiry

Scotland Yard has arrested former News of the World crime editor Lucy Panton as part of the investigation into police corruption, British media reported Thursday.

Police declined to confirm the report, saying only that a 37-year-old journalist was arrested in Surrey, a county south of London, shortly before dawn. Authorities in Britain rarely name suspects until they have been charged.

Several U.K. media outlets, including Sky News television and the Guardian, named the journalist as Panton. A former News of the World employee also told The Associated Press Panton was the person arrested, speaking anonymously because he still works in the media industry.

The phone hacking scandal in Britain has forced media mogul Rupert Murdoch to close the News of the World tabloid and prompted the arrests of more than a dozen former reporters. Several senior Murdoch lieutenants have been forced to resign because of the scandal.

Panton served as the now-defunct tabloid's crime editor. A report in the Guardian newspaper earlier this year identified her as being married to a Scotland Yard detective.

Panton had high-level contact with the Metropolitan Police; a list of meetings made public earlier this year notes that then-Assistant Commissioner John Yates met Panton and her then-boss, News of the World Editor Colin Myler, for dinner in November 2009.

That was only a few months after Yates had decided not to reopen the police investigation into allegations of systematic phone hacking at the News of the World.

Yates was one of two top Scotland Yard officers to quit over his failure to get to grips with the scandal.

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