MH17 coffin
Honour guards load a coffin of one of the victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17 downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine Reuters

The mobile phones of those who died in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster are being answered by people with "eastern European-sounding voices", relatives have told a newspaper in the Netherlands.

The news appears to be confirmation that looting has taken place at the crash site in Ukraine.

Phone companies have refused to confirm if the allegations are true out of consideration for the deceased families' privacy. But the companies have changed protocol to allow mobile phone subscriptions to be cancelled by relatives without the customary death certificate, said Dutch paper

Reports have emerged since the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went down in Grabovo that pro-Russian separatists were removing bodies, stealing from the deceased, attempting to destroy evidence at the crash scene and even adding wreckages of other planes to the site.

The body of British victim Newcastle fan John Alder was reportedly ransacked just hours after the crash. A freelance journalist, Demjen Doroschenko, who was at the scene said he discovered Alder's body outside the village of Grabovo within hours of the disaster and it was clear his belongings had been disturbed.

Doroschenko told The Sun: "I saw John Alder's body and took a picture of a medicine box he had with him. You could see they had been through his things."

"He had a pair of Tesco binoculars with him in a case. They had pulled the binoculars out of the case. But when they saw the glass had been broken they threw them back because they weren't any good for them."

The Dutch air force plane carrying the first 16 coffins with the remains of the MH17 flight victims has since arrived at Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands and were met by relatives, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and members of the Dutch royal family.