Passport agency sent strangers' personal documents to couple

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The Independent Online

Personal documents concerning the visa and passport applications of four strangers were sent to a couple awaiting the return of their own passports after a routine change of details.

The papers, which include birth and death certificates, immigration tribunal decisions, P45s and bank details, were found in an envelope outside the couple's home. Annabel Newman, a clinical clerk, of Camden, north London, sent her and her husband's Australian passports away in August to have her name changed and their visas updated following their marriage. The passports were returned on Thursday, when she found them in a parcel leaning against the front door, along with four folders of paperwork relating to strangers. The package should have been signed for.

The first folder contained NHS documents, P60 tax forms and payslips. The second had paperwork from immigration and asylum tribunals and documents from the Pan-African Legal Advisory Service. The third contained more tax-related documents and family photographs. The fourth held seven birth certificates and a string of qualification certificates.

"It's quite amazing, it really shouldn't happen," said Ms Newman's husband Ben. "This is quite sensitive information and it could have fallen into the wrong hands." The UK Border Agency said the incident would be investigated.