Sean Hoare, the first named journalist to blow the whistle on News of the World phone hacking, has been found dead. A police statement said the death was thought not to be suspicious.

Sean Hoare, a  former News of the World journalist, has been found dead. (Courtesy: BBC Panorama)

Sean Hoare, a former News of the World journalist, has been found dead.

In a statement, Hertfordshire police said: "At 1.40am today police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."

In September 2010 Mr Hoare told the New York Times former Downing Street head of communications Andy Coulson had "actively encouraged" him to hack phone messages.

Mr Coulson has always denied any knowledge of phone-hacking.

Last week the same US newspaper reported that it had been told by Hoare NoW used to pay $500 to "ping" victims - a process where a mobile phone signal is used to identify a person's location.