By politics.co.uk staff

The ongoing inquiry into the relationship between the Met police and News International took a bizarre turn today when it emerged police gave Rebekah Brookes a police horse.

The news, which quickly sparked jokes and bemusement online, is another sign of how intimate relations between police and Rupert Murdoch's media group had become.

It comes amid allegations that Ms Brookes was briefed on the investigation into her own newspaper by a Met officer.

Ms Brookes, who recently stood down as News International chief executive over phone-hacking, was given the retired horse in 2008, where she rode it on her farm.

"When a police horse reaches the end of its working life, mounted branch officers find it a suitable retirement home. Whilst responsibility for feeding the animal and paying vet bills passes to the person entrusted with its care, the horse remains the property of the Metropolitan Police Service," a Met spokesman said.

"Retired police horses are not sold on and can be returned to the care of the MPS at any time. In 2008 a retired horse was loaned to Rebekah Brooks. The horse was re-housed with a police officer in 2010."