The prison service says an investigation is underway after a woman from Northamptonshire found confidential records on inmates and criminal cases dumped by her garden gate.
Janice Aitkens from Burton Latimer says she couldn't believe what she was looking at after seeing the information from Onley Prison near Daventry.
As well as confidential paperwork on inmates Janice also found this computer memory stick potentially containing details of many more criminal cases.
Northamptonshire Police says it's investigating whether the paperwork is linked to a burglary at a house in the Burton Latimer area - but the Prisons Service won't confirm if documents of this kind are allowed to be taken outside the prison.
For inmates and their families it may be little consolation though - on this occasion the data ended up in Janice's hands, left elsewhere it could have caused a far more serious situation.