Phone firms dispute Met's hacking role

Britain's biggest mobile phone networks yesterday denied claims by a senior police officer that Scotland Yard had "ensured" that the operators contacted all potential victims of voicemail hacking.

Vodafone, O2 and Orange/T-Mobile told MPs that they had not been asked by the Metropolitan Police to inform customers whose messages appeared to have been eavesdropped by Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective working for the News of the World.

The statement appears to contradict testimony to Parliament by Assistant Commissioner John Yates that "all reasonable steps" had been taken to pass on a warning to 126 likely victims of hacking.

Senior representatives of the big four networks yesterday insisted there had been no such contact with the Yard. Vodafone and Orange/T-Mobile revealed they were still waiting for a reply to letters sent to police in November last year asking for a list of customers to inform about phone hacking.

Responding to the evidence of the phone companies, the Metropolitan Police said that Mr Yates, who was in charge of a 2009 re-examination of the phone-hacking scandal which found there was no grounds for a new investigation, had acknowledged in previous evidence to MPs that more should have been done to inform victims of phone hacking and it was reviewing its correspondence with phone companies.