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Police arrest two News of the World journalists over phone hacking

The pair have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications as the phone hacking scandal surrounding the UK newspaper continues.

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

POLICE IN THE UK have arrested two journalists previously linked with the country’s top selling tabloid as part of an investigation into phone hacking.

The BBC reports that chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 50, and former news editor Ian Edmondson, 42, have been arrested on suspicion of having unlawfully intercepted voicemail messages.

The News of the World has been at the centre of the scandal since a reporter and a private investigator employed by the tabloid were caught illegally eavesdropping on the phones of the British royal family’s entourage.

The arrests are the first since police reopened a criminal inquiry into phone tapping at the News of the World following fresh allegations from celebrities, such as Sienna Miller, who have accused the paper of illegal hacking and harassment.

A lawyer for the tabloid’s former news editor Ian Edmondson said his client voluntarily went to police. The tabloid suspended Edmondson in January over the scandal.

“I can confirm that Mr. Edmondson was arrested today,” lawyer Eddie Parladorio told AP, without providing other details.

Edmondson was being investigated as part of an inquiry into claims that the newspaper intercepted voicemail messages on the phones of Sienna Miller and Jude Law.

Last year, the Guardian obtained court documents suggesting Edmondson had hired a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, to hack into the phones.

Mulcaire and the paper’s former royal editor, Clive Goodman, were both jailed in 2007 for conspiracy to access the phone messages of members of the royal family.

The convictions led to the resignation of the paper’s editor Andy Coulsen who later became communications director for British Prime Minister David Cameron only to resign from that job earlier this year in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

The News of the World declined to comment on Tuesday’s arrests.

- additional reporting from AP

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Hugh O'Connell

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