Scotland Yard detectives were last night re-examining whether a series of high-profile individuals and celebrities were victims of phone hacking after fresh evidence emerged.
Senior officers said analysis of documents seized in 2005 alongside new information has led them to take a second look at whether some people may have fallen victim to the scam.
They admitted the individuals concerned were originally told there was "little or no" information held by police that they had been caught up in the newspaper scandal.
A police spokesman said although there remains no evidence their voicemails were hacked, this is now an "important and immediate" new line of inquiry for investigators.
Police reopened an inquiry into the actions of staff at the 'News of the World' in 2005 and 2006 almost two weeks ago after receiving "significant new information" from News International.
The decision came amid a steady flow of new revelations about the practice of intercepting the voice messages of high-profile people, including politicians, police officers and royals.
A team of detectives, working under the codenamed Operation Weeting and led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, is now sifting through a mass of material.
They are comparing the new information with material which is already held.
Ms Akers said: "I am conscious there remains significant interest in this case and we are determined to ensure that we conduct a robust and thorough investigation."
Last month Ian Edmondson, the newspaper's head of news, was sacked two days after evidence emerged that he was linked to the hacking of mobile phones belonging to high-profile individuals.
The Met has endured a torrent of criticism over its handling of the case, which led to the conviction of the 'News of the World's' royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in January 2007.
Solicitor Mark Lewis, who represents some of the alleged victims, labelled the decision not to notify some people they may be linked to the scandal as "arbitrary" and accused the Met of being "deliberately obstructive".