Sun defence correspondent held in press payments inquiry

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A correspondent for The Sun has been arrested by detectives investigating allegations of corrupt payments to police and public servants.

Virginia Wheeler, 32, was arrested by appointment under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Her paper's first female defence correspondent, she was bailed until May pending further inquiries.

It is the 23rd arrest as part of Operation Elveden and she is the 11th Sun employee to be arrested.

That operation's remit has widened to include the investigation of evidence uncovered in relation to suspected corruption involving public officials who are not police officers.

Operation Elveden is being overseen by the IPCC, running alongside the Metropolitan Police's Operation Weeting inquiry into phone hacking at the now-closed News of the World.

It was launched in July shortly after the phone-hacking scandal erupted with allegations about an investigator for the NoW hacking into Milly Dowler's mobile phone.

The BBC understands that those held last month were the Sun's picture editor John Edwards, chief reporter John Kay, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, reporter John Sturgis and associate editor Geoff Webster.

The arrests led to Trevor Kavanagh, the paper's associate editor, saying the paper's publisher - News International - was the subject of a "witch-hunt" and the investigations under way were "disproportionate".

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