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Almost 600 laptops have been misplaced or stolen from Britain's Ministry of Defence over the last five years, the government has admitted.

Opposition Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow obtained figures through a series of parliamentary questions which show a total of 1,354 government-owned computers have gone walkabout over the same period.

The MoD, which lost 594 laptops, is the worst offender, followed by the Department of Work and Pensions, which lists 419 computers as either 'lost' or stolen.

Burstow's queries about government security also revealed 27 reported hacking incidents against the MoD over the last three years. The BBC reports 19 such incidents at the Lord Chancellor's Department, five at the Foreign Office, three at the Home Office, and four at the Northern Ireland Office. ®

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