British police have arrested six former News of the World journalists in a new probe into alleged phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's now-closed tabloid.
Scotland Yard says investigators have identified a 'further suspected conspiracy' at the paper in 2005 and 2006 that was 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 daily tabloid The Sun, according to an internal memo by the chief executive of News International, the British newspaper wing of Murdoch's US-based News Corp empire.
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 in a statement.
'As part of the new lines of inquiry six people were arrested this morning on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept telephone communications. ... All of them are journalists or former journalists.'
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, northwest England, and were questioning them at various police stations.
Searches were also under way at a number of addresses.
'In due course officers will be making contact with people they believe have been victims of the suspected voice mail interceptions,' police added.
News International has declined to comment on the arrests.
But in an internal memo to staff, News International chief executive Mike Darcey said the two Sun staff members were being offered legal assistance, a source told AFP.
Those already facing trial over hacking at the News of the World include British Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-spokesman Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Murdoch's British newspaper wing.
Operation Weeting was launched in January 2011 to investigate a string of allegations over hacking at the weekly News of the World, which was Britain's biggest selling newspaper.