Police seize reporter's mobile records

A FORMER Evening Star journalist whose personal mobile phone records were obtained by Suffolk police, today said he believed the force's actions were unjustified.

A FORMER Evening Star journalist whose personal mobile phone records were obtained by Suffolk police, today said he believed the force's actions were unjustified.

Mark Bulstrode, the Star's former crime reporter, had his private phone records probed by detectives after approaching the force with information about the reopening of an historic investigation.

The mobile phone probe, which happened without the 26-year-old's knowledge, has brought scathing condemnation.

Mr Bulstrode had approached the police press office to inquire about the cold case but was asked not to publish a story because it could jeopardise the investigation.

Despite agreeing to this, Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert then obtained Mr Bulstrode's private phone records to find his source.

A member of police staff was then given “words of advice”.

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Mr Bulstrode said: “My understanding is that police are only able to access phone records when they suspect a crime has taken place. Clearly, that is not the case in this situation and I don't believe they were justified.”

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said he would be raising the matter with the government.

He said: “I think this is outrageous. The police and media have a long history of working together to jointly inform the public.

“In this case the paper had, at the request of the police, agreed not to carry a report and was rewarded with an investigation into the private telephone calls of a reporter.

Mark Wallace, campaign manager for civil liberties pressure group The Freedom Association, said: “It does appear concerning that the police would rather pry into the private matters of a well-meaning journalist than focus their attentions on the many, many real criminals who continue to get away with crimes that ruin the lives of members of the public.”

Suffolk police said they believed the inquiry was justified.

A spokesman for the force said: “There was concern that the disclosure of information could have jeopardised an investigation into a serious crime, potentially resulting in an offender evading justice.”

Mr Bulstrode, who now works for the Star's sister paper, The East Anglian Daily Times, said he discovered his phone records had been obtained after making a request for information, relating to him, the cold case investigation and his mobile phone records, under the Data Protection Act.

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