A former regional daily reporter who was arrested at his North London home yesterday on suspicion of handling stolen goods has been released on bail.
Sun journalist Rhodri Phillips, described as a “really good man” by one of his former tutors, began his career at Newcastle daily The Journal in 2003 after graduating from the Press Association training centre in the city.
He was arrested yesterday by officers from Operation Tuleta, which is investigating alleged computer hacking and wider privacy offences.
Rhodri, 35, is the seventh person to be arrested as part of the inquiry, which is operating alongside the phone-hacking investigation, Operation Weeting.
His arrest over what is thought to be a routine story check has sparked outrage among fellow journalists with some taking to Twitter to express their sympathy.
Times crime editor Sean O’Neill tweeted: “Sun reporter arrested today had answered a call to nightdesk from someone who said he’d found MP’s phone on a train. Went to check info… Examined phone to see if authentic and is there a ‘security breach’ story. Wrote email memo to newsdesk. No story published.. ..is that an offence that warrants an @metpoliceuk dawn raid on a family w v young kids? Sounds like a reporter doing his job.”
Journalist and media law consultant David Banks added: “Rhodri Phillips is one of my former trainees – for the record, an excellent journalist and really good man. Thoughts are with him.”
After leaving The Journal, Rhodri moved to the Mail on Sunday before joining The Sun.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said a 35-year-old man had been arrested and bailed. “The man, a journalist, was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods,” he added.
So far, 24 people have been arrested as part of the phone-hacking inquiry, Operation Weeting, and 41 as part of an investigation into alleged corrupt payments to officials, Operation Elveden.