For nearly four years they lay piled in a test room at Scotland Yard, six soft plastic bags collecting dust and little else.
Inside was a treasure trove of evidence: 11,000 pages of handwritten notes about 4,000 list of celebrities, politicians, sports stars, police officers and crime victims whose telephones may have been hacked by the News of the World, a British tabloid newspaper no longer exists.
However, since August 2006, when the items were confiscated until the fall of 2010, nobody in the Metropolitan Police Service, commonly known as Scotland Yard, the time to sort through all the material and a catalog of all pages, said senior police officer and former officials.
During that same time, senior officials from Scotland Yard said the parliament, judges, lawyers, potential victims of hacking, the media and the public that there was no evidence of widespread piracy of the tabloids. It firmly maintains that his original research, which led to the conviction of a journalist and a private investigator, has put an end to what they called an isolated incident.
After last week, that the claim has been reduced to rags, torn by an avalanche of conflicting evidence spectacular, revenue from International News executives that piracy was more prevalent, and an investment by police officers now admit the mishandling of the case.
Assistant Commissioner John Yates of the Metropolitan Police had not publicly acknowledged that really gone through the evidence. "I'm not going to go down and look in garbage bags," Yates said, using the British term for garbage bags.
At most, a former Scotland Yard officials acknowledged in interviews with senior police have been lazy, incompetent and too comfortable with people who should be considered suspect. At worst, he said, some officials could be guilty of crimes themselves.
"It's embarrassing, and tragic," said a former veteran of Scotland Yard. "This has damaged the reputation of a good research organization. And there is now a major crisis in the direction of the yard."
The testimony and evidence that emerged last week as well as interviews with current and former officials indicate that the police agency and News International, the British subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and publisher of The News of the World became so intertwined that they ended up sharing the objective of containing the research.
Members of Parliament, said in interviews that they were worried about a "revolving door" between the police and News International, which includes a former senior editor of the News of the World at the time of piracy, which went on to work as a strategist the media in Scotland Yard.
On Friday, the New York Times learned that the former director, Neil Wallis, was to inform the international news while he was working for the police in the case of piracy.
Executives and others in the company also maintains close social relationships to top officials at Scotland Yard. Since the scandal of piracy began in 2006, Mr. Yates and others regularly dined with the publishers of international newspaper accounts, records show. Sir Paul Stephenson, the police commissioner, met to eat 18 times with company executives and editors during the investigation, including eight times with Mr. Wallis when he was still working at The News of the World.
Senior police officials declined several requests to be interviewed for this article.
The police have constantly repeated that the original research was limited due to anti-terrorism unit, who was in charge of the case, was concerned about the most urgent demands. In the parliamentary committee hearing last week, the three said they were working in 70 terrorism investigations.
However, the Metropolitan Police unit that deals with the special crimes and had more resources and time, could have taken over the case, said four former high-level researchers. One said it was "nonsense" to claim that the department did not have enough resources.