A former police officer and ex-prison officer have admitted selling information to the Sun about high-profile individuals – the first people to plead guilty in relation to the investigation into alleged illegal payments by journalists to public officials.

Alan Tierney, an ex-Surrey police constable, and former prison officer Richard Trunkfield, both pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office at the Old Bailey on Friday morning during plea and case management hearings.

Tierney admitted selling details of the separate arrests of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and John Terry’s mother to the Sun. He will be sentenced on 27 March.

Trunkfield, 31, from Moulton, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to selling information about a “high-profile prisoner” to the same newspaper.

The pair were both arrested as part of Scotland Yard’s Operation Elveden inquiry into alleged illegal payments by journalists to police and other public officials.

Tierney and Trunkfield were attending the Old Bailey for plea and case management hearings alongside five other defendants on Friday morning.

Tierney admitted one count of misconduct in a public office between 26 March and 3 April 2009, and a second between 2 and 7 December 2009.

Prosecutors previously said he was paid a total of £1,750 for the leaks, including payment for a story about the arrest of Rolling Stones guitarist Wood, who accepted a formal police caution on suspicion of beating up his Russian partner, Ekaterina Ivanova. The other case allegedly involved the leak of details about Sue Terry and Sue Poole, the mother and mother-in-law of England footballer Terry, who were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in Surrey. They both accepted cautions.

Trunkfield, who was an operational support officer at HMP Woodhill, a high security category A men’s prison in Milton Keynes, was alleged to have received £3,350 for information he provided to the Sun on two occasions between March and April 2010.

The guilty pleas are the first under the investigations into alleged illegal newsgathering, in which police have arrested 107 people in two years, most of whom are journalists. In addition to Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan police is running Operation Weeting into phone hacking and Operation Tuleta into criminal breaches of privacy.

In February, Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, 53, was the first to be jailed after being found guilty of misconduct in public office at Southwark crown court, after the jury decided she had tried to sell information from the phone-hacking inquiry, which was set up in 2010, to the News of the World.

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Ex-police officer and ex-prison officer admit selling information to Sun – The Guardian
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