Thurlbeck: Phone-hacking was rife across Fleet Street – Press Gazette
He claimed the use of scanners to listen on private phone-calls – which he described as “phone-hacking but by different means” – was carried out on an “on an absolutely huge scale”.
He said: “It used to be practiced by bored photographers, who were sitting outside people’s houses… they might be waiting for seven or eight hours, they used to have scanners – this was in the days when mobile phones were analogue not digital – and you could listen to people’s telephone calls literally by getting a little scanner, tuning it and hearing what people were saying. And that’s how famously how Squidgygate broke in 92.”
Squidgygate is a reference to the 1992 Sun story, based on a recording of a private phone-call between Princess Diana and a friend in which she spoke intimately about the problems with her marriage.
Thurlbeck said: “What I’m naming there is phone-hacking but by different means. It was absolutely wholesale.” He went on to claim that “every single newspaper”, including broadsheets, had a photographer that would intercept phone calls.
“The point I’m making is that these sharp practices have been endemic in the industry for decades,” he said.