LONDON: Nearly 7,000 mobile phones, including those of actress Sienna Miller and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, were hacked by a British tabloid, a lawyer has claimed. Without accepting the numbers, the newspaper has since apologised.
Lawyer Charlotte Harris, who is representing several of the celebrities involved, said 7,000 people may have had their mobile phone voicemail messages intercepted by The News of the World.
The daily has now apologised to the victims, saying: "We publicly and un-reservedly apologise to all such individuals. What happened to them should not have happened. It was and remains unacceptable."
The hacking took place between 2004 and 2006, the Daily Express reported.
Harris said her clients will not accept a settlement from the newspaper until they have received full disclosure.
"What we have at the moment is an apology and an admission. We haven't even got near the truth yet," she said.
"If you hack into one person's phone, you have access to everyone who has left a message for them. And then if you go into the person who has left a message, you get all of theirs.
"You have got to be running into several thousand, just from that methodology. It is certainly not a handful - maybe 4,000, 6,000, 7,000, a huge amount of people," Harris said.
Cabinet minister Danny Alexander described the phone hacking as "outrageous", while London Mayor Boris Johnson called on all newspaper editors to declare any hacking carried out by their staff.