On 30 October 2010, Panton was asked by News of the World news editor James Mellor to find out more from Metropolitan Police anti-terror head John Yates about the printer cartridge bomb found on a cargo plane at East Midlands Airport the previous day. Mellor wrote in an email to Panton:
|“||John Yates could be crucial here. Have you spoken to him? Really need an excl (exclusive) splash (front page) line so time to call in all those bottles of champagne...||”|
Panton was arrested at her home in Surrey, where she lives with her Scotland Yard-based Metropolitan Police detective husband. The couple have two young children. She was later released on police bail.
During his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in March 2012, former Metropolitan Police anti-terror head John Yates admitted that he drunk champagne with Panton and other executives from the tabloid newspaper. Yates denied that he gave Panton any favours in return for such hospitality, or that the relationship between the two was that close.
- Donna Bowater (15 December 2011). "Phone hacking: Former News of the World crime editor Lucy Panton arrested". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- Josh Halliday (15 December 2011). "Former NoW journalist arrested over alleged payments to police". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "Former NOTW crime editor Lucy Panton arrested". The Independent. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "Call in champagne, reporter told". Press Association. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "'Time to call in those bottles of champagne': What News of the World executive told reporter trying to get story from top detective". Daily Mail. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "Call in champagne, reporter told". Evening Standard. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-02.