Journalists 'did not buy information' from police force
Devon and Cornwall Police have no direct evidence that journalists paid for information from officers or staff, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.
Det Ch Supt Russ Middleton was giving evidence at the inquiry about Operation Reproof between 2002 and 2004.
It was examining how confidential information was leaked and obtained.
The force found nothing that "directly or indirectly" linked members of the media to the illicit information, he said at the hearing into media ethics.Information sold on
Operation Reproof was started in 2002 after a man attended a public meeting in Plymouth with a list of criminal convictions relating to someone bidding for a building development in the city.
Officers then began examining where the man had got the information from.
They discovered a network of information being passed on by a retired officer, as well as another Devon and Cornwall officer accessing information from the police national computer.
The information was given to private investigators who traded it on to others, including national and international companies, such as insurance firms and lawyers.
At the inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice, Det Ch Supt Middleton said journalists were not "out of scope" in the investigations.
But he added: "We never found any direct or indirect evidence linking that information being requested by, or for, any parts of the media or journalists."
The inquiry also heard that a number of cases brought against people arrested in the operation eventually collapsed when a judge said there was not enough evidence to secure convictions.