£20,000 reward for missing Revenue discs

Police search fails to find child benefit data CDs

Police search fails to find child benefit data CDs

The government is offering a £20,000 reward to anyone who finds the missing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) discs containing 25 million child benefit records, after the initial police search failed to find them.

The search for the missing CDs has been led by a core team of 47 detectives and computer experts from the Metropolitan Police's Specialist and Economic Crime Command.

Now that the main search has finished without finding the CDs, the Met has appealed to all staff at HMRC, the National Audit Office and the Treasury to check at work and "other locations" for the discs. HMRC courier TNT will also ask its staff to help with the search for the CDs.

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In addition to the police appeal, HMRC is now offering a reward of "up to £20,000" for information leading to the safe return of the CDs - despite the fact acting Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable last week claimed the data on the discs could be worth up to £1.5bn to criminals on the black market.

A statement from the Met said: "The enquiry has been particularly challenging due to how common compact discs are within offices, the number and size of the offices requiring searches and the number of organisations where the package may have travelled through."

The Met maintained there is no evidence the lost data has ended up in the hands of criminals.

Data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner has also revealed that a number of private and public sector organisations have come forward and admitted problems with data security following the HMRC breach.