The head of security at News International told a worker he had "dug a hole in his garden and burnt stuff", the hacking trial was told today.
Mark Hanna made the comment to Robert Hernandez over several pints and a bottle of wine in the Dickens pub in St Katherine's Dock, near the News International (NI) plant in east London, on the night before the last edition of the News of the World (NotW) was published in July 2011, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Hernandez told the court they had discussed Hanna working for Rebekah Brooks 10-15 minutes before talking about the fire at his home.
In the meantime, Hanna had also talked about the closure of the News of the World.
When asked if it was papers that he burnt, Mr Hernandez said: "He just looked at me and did not reply and changed the conversation."
Mr Hernandez, who was working for a security firm at the NI offices, told the court Hanna did not tell him when the incident happened or what it was that he burnt.
"That's all he said - he dug a hole in the garden and burnt stuff... for all I know, he could have been burning bank statements."
Hanna, 50, a security controller of Glynswood Road, Buckingham, denies conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Defendants Rebekah Brooks, Charles Brooks, Stuart Kuttner, Clive Goodman, Andy Coulson and Cheryl Carter deny the charges against them.