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Cops find hackers' phone in NOTW office

Handset was codenamed 'The Hub'...

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Police have discovered the existence of a mobile phone known as "the Hub" which was used by News of The World journalists to hack over 1,000 voicemails between 2004 and 2006, according to The Independent.

The phone sat on the news desk of the now-defunct newspaper and was used to illegally access 1,150 numbers between 2004 and 2006, according to Met officers working on the case codenamed "Operation Weeting". The phone was registered to News International and the Met appear to have found the detailed call logs for the handset.

An ex-NOTW journo confirmed the existence of the phone and described it to the Indy as being "at the heart of the NOTW newsroom". The reporter also said that it had been used to hack phones "on an industrial scale".

The Independent learned about the phone from victim of the hacking scandal Tom Rowland, a former TV exec who worked on Big Brother. Met police inspectors told Rowland about "the Hub" when he met them in police headquarters in Putney to get an update on the case.

Mr Rowland said: "They [Weeting detectives] showed me a phone log taken from inside News International. They said it was the 'NOTW hub' and showed a pattern of calls made to my mobile phone."

The log reveals his mobile number being accessed over 60 times, with specific dates listed.

The phone would be one of the most significant pieces of evidence to emerge in the case so far. Police are now trying to establish who kept the phone and who hid it.

The Metropolitan Police refused to comment. ®

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