Lost in mail: data of 25 millions people

NEARLY half of Britain's population is on alert to the threat of identity theft after the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted that the personal records of 25 million people had been lost in the mail.

A Scotland Yard investigation is under way and the Government braced for a wave of censure after Alistair Darling told Parliament on Tuesday that two compact discs containing bank details and addresses of 9.5 million parents and the names, dates of birth and National Insurance [social security] numbers of all 15.5 million children in the country went missing after a junior Revenue and Customs employee put them in the post.

MPs gasped as Mr Darling revealed the scale of the security breach. He said that police had discovered no evidence of fraudulent activity, but added: "I recognise that millions of people across the country will be concerned about what has happened. I deeply regret this and apologise for the anxiety that will undoubtedly be caused." He warned the public to monitor their bank accounts for unusual activity.