'Illegal' newspaper payments

An exclusive investigation by ITV News has discovered the true scale of payments made by many of Britain’s best selling newspapers for potentially illegal personal information.

Live updates

Some of the methods used by Steve Whittamore and his associates to obtain information

  • Ex-directory numbers: Getting phone numbers which are not included in the Phone Book
  • Friends and family numbers: Getting BT Friends and Family chosen numbers (discounted calls to selected people)
  • Criminal record checks: Criminal Records Checks carried out on the Police National Computer
  • Vehicle registration: DVLA searches to get details from a number plate, such as the name and address of a driver
  • Blags: Where information has been obtained from an organistation by deception
  • Mobile Conversions: Getting personal details, such as a name and address, from a mobile number
  • Landline Conversions: Getting personal details, such as a name and address, from a landline number


What the newspapers paid for potentially illegal information

ITV News has calculated that the Daily Mail paid Steve Whittamore £143,159 for potentially illegal information and made 1,728 requests.

According to what we've seen in the books the next biggest spenders were the Daily Mirror who spent more than £92,000 on potentially illegal information and made 984 requests.

Close behind the Mirror is their stable-mate the People, spending more than £76 000, requesting 1,016 potentially illegal searches.

A full break-down of what each national newspaper paid Whittamore for data can be found here.


Response to our investigation into Operation Motorman

A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner's Office said: "We have provided the Leveson Inquiry with extensive oral and written evidence relating to Operation Motorman. We now await the Inquiry’s outcome, and will respond appropriately to any relevant recommendations.

“While we had reason to believe that some of the material could only have been obtained via unlawful means, the press are able to claim a public interest defence. This could explain an apparent discrepancy in figures."

The full responses from Newspapers and the Information Commissioner's Office following our allegations can be found here.

Back to top

Latest ITV News reports