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Update: Confidential files accidentally published

The criminal records and debt history of hundreds of people in the North East have been accidentally published on the internet by an advice service, in what could be a major breach of the Data Protection Act.

The watchdog on data and information is now investigating, after Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau inadvertently released more than 1,000 confidential files.

Dan Ashby has been following the story.

'People can still speak to us in total confidence'

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has issued a statement saying people can still speak to them in total confidence, as it opened an investigation into a possible data protection breach.

“This isolated incident at Newcastle CAB is being thoroughly investigated. I’d like to reassure people that, because we take data protection extremely seriously, they can speak to us in total confidence - all Newcastle CAB staff and volunteers are fully trained in Information Assurance

– Shona Alexander, Chief Executive, Newcastle CAB


Newcastle monument transformed for the day

Grey's Monument in Newcastle wearing a 40 foot scarf Credit: ITV Border

Shoppers in the centre of Newcastle had something of a surprise when one of the city's best known landmarks briefly altered its appearance.

A giant 40 foot scarf was placed around the Grey's monument to highlight the work of the Citizens Advice Bureau. It was knitted by a volunteer and is made up of a quarter of a million stitches.

The Bureau used the event to encourage people to stay warm this winter and to get help if they have financial worries. Shona Alexander, the Chief Executive of Newcastle CAB, said, "Earl Grey was a big social reformer and we think he would want to help us in this work."

The Bureau says its advice is free, impartial and confidential.