British police arrest two in hacking scandal

2011-04-05 21:11

London - Police investigating Britain's phone hacking scandal arrested two men on Tuesday, named by media as the chief reporter and a former news editor of the country's top-selling newspaper.

Scotland Yard police headquarters said they had arrested two men on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting cellphone voicemail messages.

They are the first arrests since detectives reopened their probe into allegations that staff at News of the World, a Sunday tabloid, hacked into the answerphone messages of royals, celebrities and politicians.

The men, aged 50 and 42, whom police did not name, were arrested after attending separate London police stations by appointment.

A police spokesperson said: "They remain in custody for questioning after being arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications... and unlawful interception of voicemail messages."

Lawyers for Ian Edmondson, News of the World's former assistant editor (news), confirmed that he had been arrested.

The Guardian newspaper identified the other man in custody as Neville Thurlbeck, the tabloid's chief reporter.

The tabloid's royal correspondent Clive Goodman was jailed in 2007 for conspiracy to access cellphone messages involving Princes William and Harry.

Scotland Yard reopened their investigation in January after the tabloid provided police with fresh information, which led to the resignation of Andy Coulson as Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief.

Coulson, News of the World's editor from 2003 to 2007, announced his resignation after Goodman was jailed, but insisted he knew nothing about the hacking.

Cameron hired him as his communications chief a few months later.

However, once the investigation was reopened, Coulson quit Cameron's team, saying the row was proving too distracting. He continues to deny any wrongdoing.