Sunderland-born journalist rearrested in probe

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THE Sunderland-born former News of the World chief reporter has “vigorously denied” what he said were “extremely far-fetched” allegations after he was rearrested by detectives investigating phone hacking.

 Writing on his blog after he was released on bail, Neville Thurlbeck said recent events “really didn’t feel like England”.

 The journalist, who was one of the first suspects questioned by Operation Weeting detectives last April, was detained a day after former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie, and four other suspects were arrested over allegations of cover-ups surrounding the inquiry.

 Scotland Yard said Mr Thurlbeck was bailed after being questioned on suspicion of witness intimidation and encouraging or assisting an offence.

 He has blogged about the inquiry in recent months and claimed that he refused a police offer to give evidence against his ex-employer News International.

 In his blog post, he wrote: “Clearly, my blog has upset someone.

 “So much so, one minute I was sitting penning a new post. The next, I was in the police station, having DNA mouth swabs and my fingerprints and police mugshot taken.

 “A complaint had been made and acted upon very swiftly indeed.

 “It really didn’t feel like England today.”