Former News of the World Journalist and phone hacking whistleblower Sean Hoare has been found dead in his home in Watford.

His body was found yesterday morning after “concerns” were raised over his welfare. The police are treating the death as unexplained but not suspicious.

Hoare was the first journalist to publicly claim that Andy Coulson, former editor of News of the World, encouraged staff to hack phones. He told BBC’s Panorama that phone hacking was “endemic”.

He told the TV Show: “People were scared, so if you have got to get a story, you have got to get it and you have to get it by whatever means.”

He previously said on BBC Radio 4 that Coulson was “well aware that the practice exists. To deny it is a lie, simply a lie.”

Hoare was interviewed by police last September about his allegations against Coulson, who was then director of communications for the government.

The News of the World sacked Hoare after he admitted drink and drug problems.

Yesterday a neighbour, who didn’t want to be named, said Hoare had struggled with alcohol abuse and looked more and more unwell in recent weeks.

Hoare told his neighbour that he was “paranoid” about people seeing him and he was scared of the police and the Government.

The neighbour described him as a “fantasist” and said: “We never knew if he was telling the truth.”