MEDIA students turning up at Teesside University this morning will have found themselves unwittingly cast into the biggest story in their field of study. Just hours before lectures started, police arrested their journalism course tutor in relation to the phone hacking investigation.
As The Daily Telegraph reports, Bethany Usher, a 31-year-old former employee of the News of the World, is now - improbably - senior lecturer in media & journalism at the Middlesbrough institution. She is the 17th person to be questioned by police working for Operation Weeting, the Met unit investigating phone hacking at the defunct Sunday tabloid.
Usher, who describes herself on her Twitter biog as a "journalist, academic and all round good egg", was arrested at 6.35am on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages and is now being held in a police station in Northumbria. Police have yet to charge her with an offence.
It is not Usher's first brush with the law. The Independent reported in January 2006 how she was arrested after applying for a job at Buckingham Palace with the apparent intention of working undercover there for the News of the World - as Ryan Parry had done for the Daily Mirror three years previously.
Needless to say, Twitter mischief makers have had great sport this morning re-tweeting Usher's recent remarks during the Leveson inquiry.
During former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan's much-derided testimony to the inquiry yesterday, Usher demanded at one point: "For god sake Paul McMullen, shut your sickening trap." She then told a fellow tweeter that it was "a shame the worst example of tabloid reporter is given the loudest voice".
Just 36 hours before she was picked up in today's dawn raid, she was also tweeting: "Am I the only former tabloid reporter who followed the PCC [code]? Hey kids. They the rules, stick to them."