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January 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The former investigations editor of the now-defunct British newspaper News of the World has told a panel looking into journalistic ethics that he has used people as sources for stories that police have considered “unreliable.” “I’ve had front page splashes from crack addicts,” Mazher Mahmood told the Leveson inquiry. Mahmood, who moved from the News Corp-owned Sunday tabloid to the more prestigious London Sunday Times in the wake of the telephone-hacking scandal that shut down the 164-year-old “redtop,” conceded, “We do use unreliable people all the time — but it’s information that is important, that we vet and check thoroughly.” He also admitted that one of his informants, Florim Gashi, who was paid about $15,000 for a story about a plot to kidnap former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and her children — a story that proved to be false — was “mentally unstable,” and that after he was deported from the U.K. had made some “bizarre and ludicrous allegations” about him to police.