Two News of the World staff told Surrey Police that the newspaper had accessed Milly Dowler’s mobile phone voice messages in a bid to track down the teenager, a court has heard.
Former managing editor Stuart Kuttner called the investigation team on 13 April 2002 and told them of a message left by a recruitment agency.
The Old Bailey heard that Kuttner told officers that the paper accessed the voicemail by using her number and pin in a bid to locate her.
Kuttner was excused from court today as he is ill.
Officers told the former newspaper executive that the message may have been left by a professional hoaxer. The newspaper carried that part of the story on page nine the following day.
The jury of nine women and three men then heard that NOW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck (pictured above) contacted police claiming the paper had access to Milly’s voicemail from “sources”.
The jury heard that former editor of the NoW Rebekah Brooks was in Dubai on 13 April but there was alleged contact between her and colleagues, including her then deputy Andy Coulson. In the newspaper's first edition the story quoted the voicemail message left by Mondays recruitment service, which said: "We're ringing because we've got some interviews starting, can you call me back? Thank you, bye bye."
By the second edition the text of the message had been edited out, while third edition focused on "outrage" at the possibility that it had been a hoax, the court heard.
Surrey Police had earlier obtained an order which allowed them to access a voicemail message left on Milly's phone on 13 April.
Prosecutor Mark Bryant Heron told the jury that someone could be heard saying: "Hello Milly, it's just we want you home soon, bye," followed by noise in the background.
Brooks, of Churchill, Oxfordshire; Coulson, 45, from Charing in Kent; and Kuttner, 73, from Woodford Green, Essex, all deny conspiring with others to hack phones between 3 October, 2000 and 9 August, 2006.
Thurlbeck has already admitted phone-hacking.
The trial continues.