If the News of the World Is Involved in Plot to Bug My Car I Wouldn't Be Surprised; MI5 DIDN'T PLANT DEVICE SHERIDAN SAYS.. BUT I HAVE AN IDEA WHO DID

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Byline: By MARK SMITH

TOMMY Sheridan reopened his bitter feud with Rupert Murdoch yesterday by claiming the tycoon's media empire was behind the bug in his car.

The Solidarity leader, who last summer won a pounds 200,000 libel case against the News of the World, said he would not be surprised if its parent company was out to get him.

The MSP said: "Everybody in Scotland knows I have been involved in a major battle with News International.

"I would not be surprised if they were seeking to elicit information about me through such means.

In a reference to Clive Goodman, the News of the World reporter jailed for listening to royal aides' phone messages, he added: "I would not be surprised if News International are brought into it, given their record of bugging people in the past."

Mr Sheridan has previously accused the Murdoch-owned company of teaming up with MI5 to fake a video of him confessing to visiting a Manchester swingers' club.

But yesterday he rubbished claims the Government was involved. He said: "I do not know for certain who is responsible - but I certainly could not suggest this was the responsibility of the security forces."

Mr Sheridan revealed he was warned last September that News International had him under 24-hour surveillance.

He said the tip-off, which came just a month after his court victory, came from someone "close to the company". But a police search of his house found no devices. He then received an email in October telling him his car was being bugged. It also contained details of his private life.

A search of his silver Honda Civic again found no evidence he was being spied on.

The Scottish Daily Mirror was contacted a month later by an anonymous source who also claimed Sheridan was being watched.

The bug was found in the back seat of his car on Thursday after a fresh warning, sent to his office at the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Sheridan said: "The letter had a bit of authenticity and that led me to contact a security analyst and the police."

The letter, envelope and stamp have now been passed to the police for forensic and DNA tests. The listening device is also being examined by detectives.

The Glasgow MSP has followed police advice not to go into detail about the letter. …