LONDON: British police have arrested six former News of the World journalists in a new investigation into alleged phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's defunct tabloid.
Scotland Yard said investigators had identified a ''further suspected conspiracy'' at the paper in 2005 and 2006, separate to the alleged hacking under which a number of people have already been charged.
Two of those arrested on Wednesday now work at the The Sun, according to an internal memo by the chief executive of News International, the British newspaper wing of Mr Murdoch's US-based News Corp empire.
British media named the two Sun journalists as Rachel Richardson and Jane Atkinson, and the other four detainees as the former assistant editor Jules Stenson, former features editor Matt Nixson and former showbusiness editors Rav Singh and Polly Graham.
The News of the World closed in disgrace in 2011 amid allegations it had hacked the mobile phone voicemails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians, and victims of crime and terrorism.
''Detectives on Operation Weeting have identified a further suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails by a number of employees who worked for the now defunct News of the World newspaper,'' Scotland Yard said.
Police said they arrested three men aged 46, 39 and 45, two women aged 33 and 40 in London, and a 39-year-old woman in Cheshire.
News International declined to comment. But sources said an internal memo to staff from the company's chief executive, Mike Darcey, said the two Sun staff members were being offered legal assistance. Those already facing trial over hacking at the News of the World include Andy Coulson, formerly the spokesman for the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International.
Operation Weeting was launched in 2011 to investigate a string of allegations over hacking at the News of the World.
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