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Six men - including a serving Metropolitan Police officer - have been arrested today concerning the alleged illegal interception of private phone calls carried out for clients of a central London detective agency.

The Met police's Anti-Corruption Command arrested the men this morning following a tip-off by BT earlier this year.

The serving police constable is aged 37 and is based within the borough of Hackney. Another man - an ex-Met police constable - is aged 30 and from Kettering in Northamptonshire.

A 57-year-old man from Highgate, a 33-year-old man from Battersea, a 29-year-old man from Sittingbourne in Kent and a 56-year-old man from Friern Barnet were also arrested.

They are all currently in custody at a North London police station where they will be interviewed. A number of residential and business addresses are currently being searched as part of the investigation into the alleged phone tapping. DCS Steve Gwilliam who runs the Anti-Corruption Command said: "Where serving police officers are suspected of being involved in any type of corruption, we will not hesitate to make arrests. Anyone who betrays the honesty and integrity of their police colleagues by committing crimes can expect for themselves and those who commit crimes with them to be dealt with firmly by the Metropolitan Police."

The Met also thanked BT for the company's help in the investigation so far.

A spokesman for the telco said: "BT alerted police in the interests of its customers and the integrity of its network following the discovery of a number of illegal intercepts." ®

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