London: The phone-hacking scandal appeared to be spreading to British newspapers beyond those owned by embattled media baron Rupert Murdoch, with fresh claims dragging the Mirror group into the mire of allegations of eavesdropping on celebrities.

In a dramatic turn to the scandal, former journalists at the Mirror group said they witnessed phone hacking at their newspapers and that the practice was "endemic".

So far, the allegations had clouded newspapers of the News International group, the largely affected being the now closed News of the World.

In fresh developments, James Hipwell, a former journalist of the Daily Mirror told The Independent that he would be willing to testify in front of a public inquiry into the episode headed by Justice Brian Leveson.

A former employee of the Sunday Mirror was quoted that he witnessed routine phone hacking in the newsroom, with celebrities including actress Liz Hurley and footballer Rio Ferdinand targeted.

The two newspapers were among the main competitors of News International's tabloids.

However, Trinity Mirror defended itself against the allegations and said its journalists work within the criminal law and Press Complaints Commission code of conduct.

Hipwell, 45, also alleged that hacking took place on other newspapers within the Trinity Mirror group, including The People, where Sean Hoare, the whistleblower who died recently, was working before moving to the News of the World.
A source said that designated reporters at the Sunday Mirror hacked into phones of celebrities pretty much every day.

The person also claimed the Sunday Mirror hired a voiceover artist to imitate famous people in order to get information about them.

Meanwhile, as investigations continue at various levels in the phone-hacking scandal, survivors of the 2005 London bombings fear that their contact details with the police may have been sold to News of the World journalists.

According to Beverli Rhodes, Chair of the Survivors' Coalition Foundation, many victims suspected that personal contact details, including mobile phone and ex-directory landline numbers as well as home addresses, were passed by police officers to the journalists of the now-defunct News of the World.

She said she had been contacted by survivors of the bombings, who said they had been approached by News of the World reporters with bogus stories of how they obtained their details, which they believe may have originated with the police, The Observer reported today. Rhodes told the paper that Scotland Yard "had the full list of survivor contact details."

She said the suspicion is that "the full list was given or sold on to the newspaper or News International or fell into someone's lap when visiting the Yard".

The scandal that has shaken the British media like never before has already led to several heads rolling, including two top officers of the Scotland Yard, who quit over questions of their links to a former editor of the NOTW.

Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO of the News International had to step down over the scandal while Rupert Murdoch and his son James had to appear before a parliamentary committee to face tough questions.

Prime Minister Cameron too has come under fire for his hiring of a former editor of the NOTW and had to face jeers from the opposition benches when he defended himself in the House of Commons.

(Agencies)