The Sun’s royal editor, Duncan Larcombe, was arrested today as part of Operation Elveden the police investigation into alleged payments to public officials.
Larcombe, 36, was held on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, following a dawn raid on his house in Kent.
Today’s arrests follow information provided to police by News Corporation's management standards committee (MSC).
The committee was set up following last year’s phone hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World.
Larcombe was The Sun’s royal editor between 2005 and 2009, before briefly becoming defence editor and then returning to cover the royal family at the beginning of 2011.
He had worked at the Sussex Courier prior to becoming royal editor in October 2002.
He did state that members of the public had been paid for information and said in a written statement,
“There have been several occasions when I, as royal editor, have paid people money for stories or pictures that have ended up in the paper.
”Some of these people have become regular 'tipsters' while others may only have been a one-off.
“In all cases, payments have to be authorised by the news desk as our line managers. If the payment is more than £1,000, it is my understanding that the payment then has to be authorised personally by the editor or the managing editor.
”In the vast majority of cases, the payments are made to known and trusted sources with a proven track record.“
Scotland Yard officers also today arrested a former member of the armed forces, 42, and a woman, 38, in Lancashire.
Scotland Yard said in a statement: ”Today's operation is the result of information provided to police by News Corporation's management standards committee.
“It relates to suspected payments to a public official and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately.”
Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed it had been passed the first set of files from the investigation.
Between them Operation Elveden and Operation Wheeting, the Metropolitan Police’s phone-hacking investigation have arrested 26 people since last July.