I am afraid that as you are no longer a VM broadband customer then the email address is classed as a orphan, and could have been deleted at any time I am afraid that all the VM support staff can do is too arrange for the email address to be deleted.
It is clearly stated in the terms and conditions section D6 "Any email address allocated by us to you will at all times belong to us and you may not transfer the address to any person. If this agreement ends, your right to use that email address will also end and you will no longer be able to use the email address, so please make sure you have an alternative email address and let your contacts know of the change, as we cannot do this for you. Please see our acceptable use policy for more detail on email address usage and our Help and Support page (by clicking here) on what happens to your email when you leave us.", normally these would have been deleted 90 days after contract termination some have been around longer.
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Hi Mikewebb64, thanks for posting and welcome to our community.
Sorry to hear of the issues you're having with a former email address. You can check if the email address is still active here . As our fantastic @apcyberax has advised, we can have the email address deleted, we cannot have anything forwarded to you etc. If you wish me to make the appropriate arrangements, please get back to me.