Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Elveden arrested a 46-year-old prison officer at his home in south east London, a 50-year-old woman in Kent and a 37-year-old man at his home in Morden, Surrey between 6am and 8am today.

It takes to 37 the number of people who have been detained in connection with the investigation that was set up and is running in conjunction with the inquiry into the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World.

In a statement Scotland Yard explained all three had been arrested on suspicion of corruption, suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said the latest arrests followed extensive inquiries carried out by officers from Operation Elveden.

The spokesman added: "Today's arrests relate to suspected payments to a public official and are not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately."

All three are currently in custody at separate London police stations.

Last month a nurse Broadmoor psychiatric hospital was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

A number of journalists and executives from The Sun newspaper have also been questioned by detectives as part of the investigation.

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