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NoW Scotland editor denies 'phone-tapping culture' at tabloid

Bob Bird rejects former Scottish Socialist party leader Tommy Sheridan's accusations.

Bob Bird, the News of the World Scotland editor, denied the former Scottish Socialist party leader Tommy Sheridan's accusations that there was an "illegal culture of phone-tapping" at his newspaper.

Sheridan told his perjury trial that the paper hired a private detective Glenn Mulcaire to tap his mobile phone.

Bird, who was giving evidence for the second day in Sheridan's perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow, insisted that he had never instructed his reporters to use private investigators to conduct illegal surveillance and was not aware of its use by his staff.

Sheridan is conducting his own defence against charges that he and his wife, Gail, deliberately lied on oath when they won a £200,000 libel trial against the NoW in 2006.

Bird, however said that his predecessor, Douglas Wight, now a features executive at the NoW head office in Wapping, had used the services of investigator Steve Whittamore who was convicted of breaking data protection legislation in 2005, about 10 times.

He added that he found invoices for payments to Whittamore on the News International accounts system.