London: Scotland Yard officers are reportedly investigating nearly 600 fresh claims of phone-hacking at media tycoon Rupert Murdoch`s now defunct UK tabloid News of the World.
The latest allegations are linked with new evidence obtained by the Metropolitan police from a suspect-turned-informant, according to a report in the Guardian published today.
Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said new hacking information had been obtained from the phone records of an "insider" who is now being lined up as a prosecution witness.
More details are expected to emerge at a high court hearing on Monday as part of the ongoing case related to alleged hacking victims of Murdoch`s News International.
Operation Weeting, the Met police investigation into the hacking scandal set up in 2011, is also said to be revisiting the timetable for concluding its investigation in light of the fresh evidence and now expect work to continue into 2015.
The 600 new potential litigants fall into three groups new victims; others who sued over hacking but signed agreements with News International allowing them to sue the company again; and a third group who signed agreements potentially barring them from suing again.
The Guardian report claims that the newspaper group may face "some hundreds of new legal actions" from the first two groups.
More than 250 people have already sued the company, including actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller, after they were told by police they were targeted by the paper.
Last month, there was a fresh wave of arrests of former News of the World executives believed to have been prompted by the new evidence.
So far eight former staff of the erstwhile tabloid, including former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, face charges in relation to allegations of conspiring to hack phones.
On Thursday, the scandal spread outside the Murdoch group when journalists from the Sunday Mirror were arrested on phone hacking suspicions.
The latest set of revelations come at a time when British MPs are due to vote next week on joint Labour and Liberal Democrat amendments that would introduce a law on stricter regulation of the press.
Prime Minister David Cameron is fighting to water down the proposals to avoid excessive state regulation of the newspaper industry.