London, July 23 (ANI): A former journalist for the Daily Mirror has claimed that the illegal phone hacking practice was 'endemic' at the newspaper during the time he worked there.
The Independent quoted James Hipwell, 45, as saying that hacking at the Daily Mirror was widespread and 'seen as a bit of a wheeze'.
He said he would give evidence to a public inquiry into hacking ordered by David Cameron and headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson.
Hipwell worked at the Mirror under the editorship of Piers Morgan, now a presenter with CNN.
He was made aware of the hacking because the paper's City desk, on which he worked, was next to the showbiz desk.
"You know what people around you are doing. They would call a celebrity with one phone and when it was answered they would then hang up. By that stage the other phone would be into their [the celebrity's] voicemail and they would key in the code, 9999 or 0000. I saw that a lot," he said.
He also alleged that hacking took place on other newspapers within the Trinity Mirror group, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, including The People, where Sean Hoare was working before moving to the News of the World.
"It was endemic. Sean didn't suddenly move from one tabloid where it didn't happen to another where it did. But at the time it wasn't illegal," the paper quoted him, as saying.
Trinity Mirror, has however, denied Hipwell's claims.
"Our position is clear. Our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct," a spokesperson said. (ANI)