21/10/2016 11:35 BST | Updated 21/10/2016 12:16 BST

Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood Jailed For 15 Months After Tulisa Trial Tampering

The self-styled 'king of the sting'.

Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood

Mazher Mahmood, known as undercover reporter the ‘Fake Sheikh’, has been jailed for 15 months for tampering with evidence in the collapsed Tulisa Contostavlos drugs trial. 

Mahmood, 53, was found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice earlier this month.

The self-styled “king of the sting” met N-Dubz and ‘X Factor’ star Contostavlos in a London hotel, posing as a film producer who wanted the singer to star in a Hollywood film.

Doug Peters/Doug Peters
Tulisa Contostavlos was subject to a sting which saw Mahmood pose as a Hollywood producer

Contostavlos was accused of arranging for Mahmood to be sold £800 of cocaine by one of her contacts.

Following the sentencing it also emerged Mahmood has been sacked by News UK. 

The journalist’s driver Alan Smith, 67, was also found guilty of the same charge following a trial at the Old Bailey.

The pair were accused of conspiring to suppress evidence in Contostavlos’ trial, which was later thrown out of court.  

Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
Driver Alan Smith (left) and Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood were found guilty at the Old Bailey this month

As Smith, of Dereham, Norfolk, drove the former X Factor judge home to Hertfordshire, she allegedly spoke about a family member who had a drugs problem, the Press Association reported.

When the undercover reporter was interviewed by police more than a year later, Smith recalled the conversation.

But a day later, after speaking to Mahmood and emailing his draft statement, the singer’s anti-drugs comments were removed from it, the court heard.

At a pre-trial hearing, Mahmood denied being an “agent provocateur” or that he discussed the drugs conversation with Smith.

His defence team said that Mahmood “is not policeman, he is a journalist”, adding: “Securing convictions is not actually his job.” 

After her case collapsed in July 2014, Miss Constavlos claimed to reporters she had been the victim of “a horrific and disgusting entrapment’’.

Mahmood claims to have helped put more than 100 people behind bars.

The prosecution asked for costs to be awarded totalling £37,929.

Smith awaits sentencing.

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