The Blackberry where was the phone purchased from was it direct from VM or anther provider / shop as if it was not provided by VM then they will not have the unlock code for it, this can only be gathered from the original provider / shop that sold the phone.
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It seems that the handset unlock is all a black art as the code in the SIM swap letter didn't work and neither did the different one that John generated. I did receive an email this afternoon, presumably in response to my initial webform request, containing a 3rd code, which did do the job. Hurrah!
Thanks to John for trying to sort this out for me anyway and doing his best to offer a solution.