What would you do with files of personal information, including bank details, on 20,000 people?

If you’re Haringey Council – the answer is, “leave the dumped in a squatted building”.

Yes – really! That’s what The Sun has discovered. The building in question is in Crouch End, and used to be used by a council Housing Benefit office. But when they stopped using the building, they failed to secure or clear out the files. Instead, we have a building open to anyone to walk in – and stuffed full of personal files, containing details of 20,000 people, including in many cases all the details needed for identity theft.

I am shocked and extremely concerned for the people affected. They urgently need to know the risk they have been exposed to by Haringey Council’s incompetence. They must be contacted immediately by Haringey Council so they can check whether or not they have been a victim of identify theft or fraud. Then, the council leaders need to sit down and seriously review their archiving system. With benefit claims, child protection documents and Council Tax records, Haringey Council holds some extremely sensitive information on virtually every person in the borough – and it must be properly looked after.

Neil Williams, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Haringey Council, is tabling an emergency council motion today calling for a thorough investigation and review.