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The Met undertook an investigation of Rees, entitled Operation Nigeria, and tapped his telephone.

Whittamore's detailed records identified 27 different journalists as having commissioned him to acquire confidential information for which they paid him tens of thousands of pounds.

Invoices submitted to News International "sometimes made explicit reference to obtaining a target's details from their phone number or their vehicle registration." Whittamore, Boyall, and two others pleaded guilty in April 2005.

According to ICO head Richard Thomas, "each pleaded guilty yet, despite the extent and the frequency of their admitted criminality, each was conditionally discharged [for two years], raising important questions for public policy." On 14 November 2005, the News of the World published an article written by royal editor Clive Goodman, claiming that Prince William was in the process of borrowing a portable editing suite from ITV correspondent Tom Bradby.

"Media, especially newspapers, insurance companies and local authorities chasing council tax arrears all appear in the sales ledger" of the agency.

Whittamore's network gave him access to confidential records at telephone companies, banks, post offices, hotels, theatres, and prisons, including BT Group, Crédit Lyonnais, Goldman Sachs, Hang Seng Bank, Glen Parva prison, and Stocken prison.

In June 2002, Fillery had reportedly used his relationship with Alex Marunchak to arrange for private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, then doing work for News of the World, to obtain confidential information about Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook, one of the police officers investigating the murder of Daniel Morgan.

Mulcaire obtained Cook's home address, his internal Metropolitan police payroll number, his date of birth and figures for his mortgage payments as well as physically following him and his family.

The commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police Service, Sir Paul Stephenson, also resigned.