Mobile phone giant Vodafone handed police more than 1,000 numbers belonging to News UK staff – despite being asked for just one, it has emerged.
Scotland Yard detectives working on Operation Elveden, the investigation into alleged payments by journalists for information, requested records for between 2005 and 2007 for what it said was “a policing purpose”.
A Vodafone spokesman said the mistake was down to “human error”, and had meant the data handed over to the Met was corrupted.
He said bosses had “grave concerns” that officers continued to keep hold of the information, and consulted human rights lawyers in convincing officers to delete it, arguing that the corruption meant no meaningful conclusions could be drawn from the disc.
The data was handed back to the company in mid-October.