The former head lawyer at the News of the World was arrested yesterday when police arrived at his Wimbledon home.

Tom Crone, who lives in The Drive, West Wimbledon, was arrested by Metropolitan Police detectives at 6.45am yesterday on suspicion of unlawfully conspiring to intercept communications.

The 60-year-old attended Wimbledon College as a student and was known to frequent the Swan Tavern in Ridgway.

It is believed about ten officers arrived at his home and carried out a thorough search of the property before he was taken to Wimbledon police station and released on bail last night.

In a statement through his solicitor, Henri Brandiman, Mr Crone categorically denied any involvement in the commissioning of phone hacking at the newspaper.

Mr Crone had strongly denied comments made by News International’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, when he gave evidence in April to the Leveson inquiry into press ethics about how illegal behaviour was allowed to happen in one of his newsrooms.

Mr Crone responded by saying: “[Mr Murdoch’s] assertion that I ‘took charge of a cover-up’ in relation to phone hacking is a shameful lie.”

His arrest was the 25th made by Scotland Yard’s Operation Weeting phone hacking inquiry.

It was also the first arrest since eight people, including the newspaper’s former editor, Andy Coulson, and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, were told by the Crown Prosecution Service they would face a total of 19 charges relating to phone hacking by the News of the World.