11:18am Thursday 14th March 2013
© Press Association 2013
The publisher of the Sunday Mirror has been dragged into the phone hacking investigation for the first time after four journalists were arrested over fresh allegations.
Three men, aged 40, 46 and 49, and a 47-year-old woman were arrested at 6am on Thursday morning on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept telephone communications.
They are all current or former journalists at Mirror Group Newspapers titles, Scotland Yard said, and were arrested at separate addresses across south London.
The conspiracy is being treated separately from the two plots being investigated at the now defunct News of the World, the Yard added, and focuses on the Sunday Mirror.
In a statement, the force said detectives working on Operation Weeting, its investigation into phone hacking, have "identified and are investigating a suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails at Mirror Group Newspapers".
It added: "This conspiracy is being treated as a separate conspiracy to the two being investigated at the now defunct News of the World newspaper.
"It is believed it mainly concerned the Sunday Mirror newspaper and at this stage the primary focus is on the years 2003 and 2004."
The suspects are being interviewed at various police stations in London while searches are being carried out at a number of addresses.
Officers said they plan to make contact with people they believe to have been victims of the suspected phone hacking in due course.
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