The Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney is considering whether to join the list of celebrities suing the News of the World for alleged voicemail hacking after it was confirmed yesterday that his mobile phone numbers were obtained by the private detective Glenn Mulcaire.
The England striker used Twitter to reveal he was shown documents by Scotland Yard detectives last week in Manchester which revealed that Mr Mulcaire, who was commissioned to eavesdrop on phone messages by the NOTW, had written down details of mobile phones owned by the footballer and his associates.
Mr Rooney, who has been the subject of salacious revelations about his private life on several occasions in recent years, wrote: "Looks like a newspaper have [sic] hacked into my phone. Big surprise." His wife, Coleen, tweeted separately: "Newspapers hacking into phones!! Desperate and Disgusting!!!!"
The Independent revealed a fortnight ago that officers from Operation Weeting, the new Yard inquiry into phone hacking, were looking at Mr Mulcaire's records, which run to thousands of pages of mostly handwritten notes, to see if Mr Rooney appeared in them.
Detectives, who have arrested three former and current NOTW journalists on suspicion of conspiracy to hack into voicemails since January, are in the process of informing up to 4,000 people whose names and details appear on the documents seized from Mr Mulcaire. A total of 24 people have launched damages claims against the NOTW but that number is expected to increase as new potential victims are approached by police.
Mr Rooney, who is understood to be deeply angered by the revelation, is the latest figure from the world of football to be linked to the scandal.
The agent Sky Andrew, whose clients include the former England star Sol Campbell, is one of eight victims who earlier this month received an apology and an admission of liability from the NOTW while Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, received a reported £700,000 settlement in 2009. Mr Andrew is continuing to pursue his case, along with other confirmed victims of Mr Mulcaire such as the actress Sienna Miller, who has been offered £100,000 to settle her claim.
It is understood Mr Rooney, whose return to form continued this week when he scored in United's Champions League semi-final, is considering legal action, but will not take a final decision on whether to seek damages until the end of the season next month. Mr Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford, is also considering legal action after he was told his details were obtained by Mr Mulcaire, who was jailed for six months in 2007 after he admitted accessing the voicemails of members of the royal household and five others, including Mr Andrew.
Scotland Yard confirmed officers had visited Mr Rooney. It is understood that Coleen Rooney has not been shown any evidence that she was targeted by Mr Mulcaire.