A lawyer representing Southend News Network has confirmed this evening that the Chief Reporter has been named in documents relating to Operation Kursaal – the ongoing operation was set up in 2015 to investigate multiple cases of phone hacking within South Essex media outlets. It has already been established that 64 councillors and local government employees have had their phones hacked, and a source confirmed that Southend News Network could be involved in almost a third of these reported incidents. 

Gordon Gordon of Gordon, Gordon, Gordon and Thomas Associates said: ‘We can confirm at this stage that the Chief Reporter of Southend News Network appears in Operation Kursaal’s preliminary report under his real name of Jeremiah Geckko – this information will soon be in the public domain. No further comment will be made at this time, other than to say that my client intends to fight these baseless allegations and clear his name.’

A source inside the investigation said: ‘Any Southend News Network-related lines of enquiry have been combined into a sub-investigation called ‘SNN and Others,’ and this branch of the operation has 21 individual complaints that are now being looked into. Mr Geckko’s possible involvement only came to light when a high-ranking official at Southend Council alerted the authorities about his iPhone being accessed illegally. According to the complaint, someone reset his high score on Candy Crush Saga and then posted ‘I wear women’s knickers’ repeatedly on his Facebook account, and using data tracing made it clear that Southend News Network’s only member of staff is a legitimate suspect. If it emerges that he is guilty of these charges, the compensation alone would cripple the company, and as a result the website would be forced to close in a similar manner to the News Of The World.’