Morrisons accountant Andrew Skelton jailed over leaked data

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A Morrisons accountant who leaked personal data from 100,000 employees as part of a grudge against the supermarket has been jailed for eight years.

Internal auditor Andrew Skelton, 43, abused his position at the supermarket chain, gaining unauthorised access to data and disclosing personal data of staff.

Skelton leaked the information in response to a warning he was given after the company found out he used the mail room at Morrisons headquarters in Bradford to send out eBay packages, the court heard.

The data breach cost the company more than £2 million to rectify.

Data containing information including salaries, National Insurance numbers, dates of birth and bank account details were sent to The Guardian, Trinity Mirror Newspapers and the Bradford Telegraph and Argus last year, prosecutor Katherine Robinson said.

It was also uploaded to data sharing websites.

Skelton, of Water Street, Liverpool, was a senior internal auditor at Morrisons at the time. In 2013 he was the subject of disciplinary action after a package was found in the mail room in Bradford.

Miss Robinson said the initial suspicion was that the package contained controlled drugs but this was found not to be the case.

The prosecutor said Skelton told the internal investigator he had been conducting eBay deals using the HQ mail room and he was given a warning.

Speaking after the sentence, David Holderness, reviewing lawyer for the CPS Complex Casework Unit, said: “Andrew Skelton was in a position of considerable trust with access to confidential personal information as Senior Internal Auditor at Morrisons.

“He abused this position by uploading this information – which included employee’s names, addresses and bank account details onto various internet websites.

“He then attempted to cover his tracks and implicate a fellow employee by using this colleague’s details to set up a fake email account.

“Andrew Skelton’s motive appears to have been a personal grievance over a previous incident where he was accused of dealing in legal highs at work.

“The potential loss to his victims and the sheer quantity of potentially compromised data was very significant and could have resulted in employees identities being stolen.

“Currently Morrison’s has incurred costs of almost #2 million as a result of this fraud, costs have included professional fees, legal fees and fees incurred through attempts to safeguard their employees.

“The sentence imposed today sends out a very clear message that we will robustly prosecute serious fraudsters such as Skelton who believe they are above the law.”