Employee in custody over Morrisons payroll data heist

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WEST YORKSHIRE POLICE has a man in custody on suspicion of theft of payroll data from Morrisons, and he is an employee of the firm.

The police force released a short statement saying that the staffer was arrested today, Monday.

"An employee of Morrisons has been arrested in Leeds this morning (Monday, 17 March) in connection with an investigation into the theft of data from the company," said detective chief inspector Gary Hooks of the Protective Service. "He is currently in custody."

Morrisons became aware of the theft last Thursday when someone passed a disc of the data to a newspaper and uploaded it to the internet. 

In a statement given to local newspaper the Telegraph & Argus, Morrisons said, "This data theft included bank account details. Morrisons immediately ensured that it was taken off the website.

"Initial investigations suggest that this theft was not the result of an external penetration of our systems. We can confirm there has been no loss of customer data and no colleague will be left financially disadvantaged.

"We have already informed our colleagues about the theft and we are helping them take the appropriate actions to safeguard their personal data."

The firm is a working with the authorities on an investigation of what happened, which will be handy considering that it missed the event internally.

Morrisons appealed to its staff in a Facebook message where it tackled the loss and explained what it means.

"We are extremely sorry to inform you that there has been a theft of colleagues' personal information, which was uploaded onto a website. As soon as we became aware of this last night we took immediate steps to ensure the data was removed from the website. It was closed down within hours of us being notified," it said.

"The information included names, addresses and bank account details of colleagues. This affects colleagues from all levels of the organisation. Our immediate priority is the security of your financial information. We are currently working with Experian and the major banks to ensure that we provide full support and assistance to all affected colleagues. This will include support and advice around protection of your bank account."

A help line is being set up to calm staff fears and an email address has been set up to respond to written worries. Morrisons said that its CEO, Dalton Philips, will lead the investigation.

"We are taking this extremely seriously. Dalton Philips is leading the response," it added. "We are very sorry that this has happened. We will ensure that no colleague will be left financially disadvantaged as a result of this theft." µ

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