Gardens littered with confidential letters and data
PUBLISHED: 13:34 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:40 26 October 2009
LORRIES carrying confidential data spewed their contents over the gardens of mystified residents. Classified information, including medical records, bank details and even Government documents, was strewn along Coopers Lane, Northaw. Homeowners along the r
LORRIES carrying confidential data spewed their contents over the gardens of mystified residents.
Classified information, including medical records, bank details and even Government documents, was strewn along Coopers Lane, Northaw.
Homeowners along the road watched as health documents fluttered on to their front lawns and into nearby hedges on Thursday morning.
Over the last 18 months, other papers to have fallen off vehicles include hospital patients' diagnoses and patient reference numbers.
Signed Giro slips and even a Government document intended for the Chancellor have also been found in the past.
It is believed they were being transported to the Chas Storer recycling site in the road.
Shocked resident Judy Almond, who lives on Coopers Lane, told the WHT she had collected "hundreds" of confidential documents left in the vicinity of her house.
"This is serious," she said.
"When we go outside we do not know what we are going to get. I would hate for anyone to see my confidential records.
"These people have heart disease, breast cancer and the like.
"You could get all sorts with this information.
"People are paying for this kind of information to be destroyed and it ends up all over our garden."
Neighbour Martin Keane said he had seen a mile stretch of road "caked in confidential papers" several times in the last 18 months.
"We found a variety of confidential papers. It could have come out anywhere on the journey, it's worrying."
He said the offending lorries were using the recycling plant and he had taken down the registration of one vehicle.
Craig Curtis, a director of Chas Storer, insisted he would be "very surprised" if the information came off one of his own company's vehicles.
"There are many companies that bring waste to us," he said.
"We have a number of vans coming in and out and I would be very surprised if it was one of ours.
"We do shred some material, but the majority of it we put into bundles to make paper out of it again."
'This is not information anyone should have access to'
BANK accounts could be emptied and patients' medical histories could be explored with the information strewn around Northaw, according to a fraud expert.
He told the WHT the discovery of the confidential data was "very intriguing".
"Medical documentation is the hardest information to get hold of," he said
"However, with a patient reference you could probably get quite far.
"With the bank details and a signature you could gain access to money in the bank account and could theoretically clear it out.
"It is not information that anyone should have access to.