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Paper's splash on dumped security documents

The Chester Evening Leader has been thanked by social services bosses after it uncovered a security blunder involving highly sensitive council documents.

The evening paper published an exclusive report by Chester chief reporter Mike Summers on how documents outlining personal details on some of Chester’s most vulnerable people were found dumped on a country road.

The documents included safety codes for entries to flats and details on the householders’ state of health.

The paper splashed the story across the front page and co-operated with Cheshire County Council by handing all the missing documents back.

The council launched an immediate investigation into the disappearance of the documents and discovered they had been kept in the boot of a senior care worker’s car, which had been stolen.

Assistant news editor Jonathan Barnett, who oversaw the Leader’s coverage of the story, said: “Luckily on this occasion the documents did not fall into the wrong hands, but should such highly sensitive and potentially harmful information be left lying in a car?

“I understand the information contained in the wallets is vital for care workers but after this incident security must be reviewed. It could have led to the mugging, assault or even murder of an elderly person, unable to defend themselves.”

Editor Richard Williams said: “This was a great local story of potentially very serious consequences for some of the city’s most vulnerable people. Our reporting team did the right thing in co-operating with the council while still getting the story.”

Cheshire county council spokesman Ian Callister said: “The Evening Leader thought first about the possible vulnerability of the people involved and second about the story. It is to be highly commended.”

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