London: Heads continued to roll in Britain's widening phone hacking scandal as London police's number two officer also quit on Monday under incessant pressure over the police department's links to tainted officials of Murdoch's media group.

The resignation of Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates came a day after his boss Sir Paul Stephenson stepped down following questions over the hiring of a former top executive of News of the World, who was last week arrested in connection with the phone hacking and bribery probe.

Yates had checked the credentials of the ex-News of the World executive Neil Wallis, before the Met employed him as its PR consultant.

His resignation came after he was informed he would be suspended pending an inquiry into his relationship with Wallis, a channel reported.

Yates indicated his intention to resign to the chairman of the Met Police Authority, which was accepted. Wallis, a former NOTW deputy editor, was arrested and released on bail on Thursday on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

The widening scandal has already claimed a number of victims, including the newspaper at the centre of the controversy that was closed down, and former News International CEO Rebakah Brooks, who resigned on Friday.

The scandal has also ignited a debate over the scale of links between politicians, the media and the police and has prompted several top politicians to demand a review of media ownership laws to prevent concentration of power.

British police chief quits

Britain's most senior police officer Paul Stephenson has resigned, citing allegations about Scotland Yard's links to Rupert Murdoch's empire amid the phone-hacking scandal.

"I have this afternoon informed the Home Secretary and the Mayor of my intention to resign as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service," Stephenson said in a statement on Sunday.

British police have been slammed over their handling of the snowballing crisis, and Stephenson himself faced accusations on Sunday over his connections with the tycoon.

Stephenson was linked to former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis in reports which said the police chief accepted a five-week stay earlier this year at a luxury health spa where Wallis worked as a public relations consultant.

The force is already facing questions about why it hired Wallis as an advisor two months after he quit the tabloid. Wallis was arrested last week.

"I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis who as you know was arrested in connection with Operation Weeting last week," he said. But he insisted he had committed no impropriety.

"Let me state clearly, I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact," Stephenson added.

Rebekah released on bail

Rebekah Brooks, the former head of British newspaper publisher News International, was released on bail early Monday following her arrest over phone-hacking allegations, a daily reported.

The 43-year-old former chief executive officer went to a London police station by appointment on Sunday, and was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and corruption allegations.

Brooks was an editor of News of the World newspaper during 2002-2003 when it allegedly hacked up to 4,000 phones, including that of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler.

She resigned on Friday over the hacking scandal, leading to the closure of the best-selling Sunday tabloid, which was attached to News International, owned by American media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp


(Agencies)