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Ripped bags reveal private documents

PUBLISHED: 02:10 14 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:56 02 March 2010

A PENSIONER today called on businesses to step up their data protection measures after he came across confidential documents in an Ipswich street.

Malcolm Boreham was stunned to find letters strewn across Lower Brook Street listing personal addresses and highly confidential finance details.

A PENSIONER today called on businesses to step up their data protection measures after he came across confidential documents in an Ipswich street.

Malcolm Boreham was stunned to find letters strewn across Lower Brook Street listing personal addresses and highly confidential finance details.

The former payroll manager said: "It had been raining earlier so the letters were stuck on the ground. Had it been a dry or windy day goodness knows where they would have blown to.

He said: "I could see a person's name and I could see that it was a mortgage offer.

"I could see the amount of the loan. I was quite taken aback."

The letters had fallen from a ripped rubbish bag left out for collection near Watkins, Stewart and Ross solicitors and notaries.

Mr Boreham, of Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, said it appeared the green plastic bag had been torn open, either by people or foraging animals.

He was further alarmed when, on Sunday , exactly a week after he saw the first batch of letters, a similar bag broke open outside another business in Lower Brook Street, sending more rubbish spilling onto the footpath.

However on the second occasion the letters did not appear to contain sensitive information about clients.

But Mr Boreham, 64, called on businesses in the street to clean up their act.

He said: "Your personal business should remain personal.

"Having worked with confidential information I know how important it is that it remains so. I would hope they'd put measures in place to make sure it doesn't happen again."

David Ross, managing partner at Watkins, Stewart and Ross said the firm would "tighten up" the system it uses to deal with confidential information.

He said: "It is virtually unheard of to put a mortgage deed in the rubbish. Obviously somebody has inadvertently put the document in the wrong bin."

He added: "We have one bin for general rubbish and another bin for any confidential papers which are then put in a shredding bag or are shredded.

"We're going to tighten up our system all round now."

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


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