Sun's royal editor among hacking probe arrests

Duncan Larcombe has been the Sun's royal editor since January 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Paul Hackett

The Sun's royal editor was arrested today by detectives investigating alleged illegal payments to public officials, sources said.

Duncan Larcombe, 36, was held in a dawn swoop on his home in Kent on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden also arrested a former member of the armed forces, 42, and a woman, 38, at their house in Lancashire.

Police said the arrests were prompted by information provided by News Corporation's management standards committee (MSC), which was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World last July.

He was the paper's royal correspondent from 2005 to 2009, then was appointed defence editor for 14 months. He returned to the royal beat in January last year.

Giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards in January, Larcombe said he had never paid a police officer and had no knowledge of phone-hacking or computer-hacking taking place at The Sun.

But he acknowledged it was "no secret" that his paper offers members of the public payments in return for tip-offs.

He said in a written statement to the inquiry:

The former serviceman was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and the woman on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.

They are being questioned at a police station in Lancashire.

Scotland Yard said in a statement:

Sources said former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks is one of 11 suspects named in the documents handed to Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC for him to decide whether to bring charges.

The three people arrested today were later released on bail.