Graham Dudman
Graham Dudman, former managing editor of The Sun.

Four journalists, including the former managing editor of The Sun newspaper, have been arrested along with a policeman over charges of corrupt payments to police officers.

Graham Dudman, 48, former managing editor of The Sun, executive editor Fergus Shanahan, 56, head of news Chris Pharo, 42, and crime editor Mike Sullivan, 42, were arrested on Saturday, along with a 29-year-old detective. The four journalists were let out on bail later.

In a statement issued later, News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch's firm which runs the paper, vowed to ensure that legitimate journalism will be "vigorously pursued in both the public interest and in full compliance with the law".

Scotland Yard officers also raided the paper's headquarters in Wapping, East London, after receiving information given to the police from News Corporation, the parent firm of News International. Operation Elveden, Scotland Yard's probe into illegal payouts to its officers, is now expected to focus on the role of former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks.

The police probe had started tracking the activities of the Sun's now defunct sister paper, the News of the World, relating to the phone-hacking scandal.

News Corporation said in a statement: "Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers from Operation Elveden today arrested four current and former employees from The Sun newspaper. Searches have also taken place at the homes and offices of those arrested.

"News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated.

"It commissioned the Management and Standards Committee (MSC) to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively co-operate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles.

"News Corporation will continue to give its total support to the continued work of the MSC and to ensure that legitimate journalism is vigorously pursued in both the public interest and in full compliance with the law."