The long-running phone hacking scandal took a sickening twist last night, with claims that the News of the World hacked into the phones of scores of take-away establishments.
Editor, Rebekah Brooks said in an email to her staff that the "strongest possible" actions would be taken if the charges were found to be true. Brooks also said in the email that she had no knowledge of the alleged take-away hacking and that she would not resign.
The latest development sparked an emergency debate in Parliament, with MP’s outraged at the alleged phone hacking by the News of the World tabloid.
In a statement to the media, David Cameron said, “We are no longer talking here about politicians and celebrities, we are talking about innocent take-away proprietors and their customers, having their phones hacked into. It is absolutely disgusting, what has taken place, and I think everyone in this House and in every take-away establishment in the country will be revolted by what they have heard and what they have seen on their television screens.”
Jagdev Singh, owner of the Shere Punjab take-away in Islington was informed by police that his telephone number was found amongst the files of Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective employed by the News of the World. “This is a terrible intrusion into our affairs and my stomach is damn well churning with the thought that calls to the Shere Punjab were hacked into. I mean, it comes to something when you can’t even order a Chicken Tikka Masala without some bloody eavesdropper listening into the conversation.”
The latest revelations are posing the greatest threat yet to Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire, as a growing number of take-away companies pulled their ads and inserts from the tabloid in disgust and calls mounted for Rebekah Brooks, Murdoch’s top executive, to step down.
Mr Bobby Whitlock, chief executive of the Domino’s pizza group of companies said, “So far we are not sure if we are on the list despite extensive target marketing to households throughout the UK. If this is found to be the case we will be totally overhauling our current marketing strategy.”
Glenn Mulcaire has also issued an apology to any customers who had been hurt by his actions, and said “I have no intention of interfering with the police investigation but I wish to state that I can heartily recommend the ‘number 22 Crispy Duck’ at Ming’s’ Palace in Bethnall Green.”
In a further development the Metropolitan Police have also come under fire for accepting free take-away food in exchange for telephone numbers and addresses. A spokesman for the Met said, “We understand that some officers may have accepted free take-aways in return for information. I can confirm that empty take-away containers have been found on the back seat of patrol cars and custody vehicles, and we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to root out these rogue officers.”
Reports that a copy of Yellow Pages has been found amongst the files are being investigated.