An executive from News International, the tabloid’s parent company, allegedly deleted potentially incriminating emails from an internal archive shortly after Scotland Yard began its second investigation in January.
It is also alleged that the contents of a reporter’s desk were removed following his arrest before police had an opportunity to conduct a search.
The allegations came as The Daily Telegraph learnt that detectives have been handed a list of potential telephone hacking victims linked to the Madeleine McCann case.
The list of 67 names and numbers includes Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of the missing child, and politicians including Nick Clegg and Sir Menzies Campbell. It was handed to officers working on Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into telephone hacking at the News of the World last year.
The alleged mass deletion of emails, reported by The Guardian newspaper last night, has exacerbated tensions between News International and Scotland Yard.