A MEMORY stick containing the names, addresses and bank details of 1,385 Salisbury residents has been lost by Wiltshire County Council.

The council, in breach of its own procedures, put the stick in an envelope and posted it to Salisbury District Council.

The envelope ripped and the information, which relates to recipients of housing benefit was lost.

The county council has apologised for the mistake and has said the risk of anyone being able to access the encrypted and password-protected information is ‘slight’.

Chief executive, Keith Robinson, said: “We very much regret the loss of this data and I am apologising to all those covered by the data.

“We have clear procedures for sending data and on this occasion they were not followed. We are investigating why this happened.

“Fortunately personal data is routinely encrypted and password protected so we judge the risk of misuse to be small. Nevertheless, I do apologise to all those involved.

The council is holding a review into data security, the finding of which Mr Robinson said will be reported to the council’s executive no later than May.

Letters are being sent out to each individual affected by the blunder.