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Tuesday, December 30, 1997 Published at 03:39 GMT


Newspaper calls on Straw to investigate drugs arrest
image: [ Tuesday's Mirror front page appeal to the Home Secretary ]
Tuesday's Mirror front page appeal to the Home Secretary

The Mirror newspaper has demanded that the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, investigate the arrest of one of its reporters for possession of cannabis. The reporter, Dawn Alford, says she was sold the drug by the son of a Cabinet Minister.

The paper said it was writing to Mr Straw, in his role as "head of law and order", asking him to investigate who authorised the arrest after police told the paper the decision was out of their hands.

[ image: Home Secretary Jack Straw]
Home Secretary Jack Straw
Ms Alford reported last week that she had been sold just under two grammes of cannabis resin by the Minister's son in a pub in Clapham.

The youth, who cannot be named because he is under 18, was taken by the minister to a police station after the newspaper informed him what had happened. The youth was arrested and then released on police bail.

Ms Alford, 30, voluntarily attended a London police station, where she was arrested and then released on police bail.

'No evidence'

The letter from Mirror solicitor Martin Cruddace said a police inspector had admitted there was no evidence to suggest that Ms Alford was intending to do anything other than deal with the drug legally. She "fully intended to provide it to a forensic analyst", he said.

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that my clients will be asking you to inquire as to how the reporter came to be arrested and who authorised the arrest of that reporter," he said.

The Mirror's editor, Piers Morgan, criticised the decision to arrest his reporter.

He said: "This is an outrageous decision which is, in my opinion, specifically designed to deflect attention from the criminal activities of a Cabinet minister's son to the entirely justifiable methods deployed by a newspaper to uncover them."


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