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A laptop containing data on 11,000 children between the ages of eight months and eight years old has been stolen from a Nottinghamshire hospital.

Data contained on the laptop contained the names, addresses, and dates of birth of children from the Newark, Mansfield, and Ashfield areas, the BBC reports.

The machine was one of three swiped from an office in King's Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield, on 21 March. Nottinghamshire Primary Care Trust has informed all of the families affected. A spokeswoman said it took the security breach "extremely seriously" and promised an inquiry. Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire police have launched an investigation into the theft.

The laptop was password protected, according to hospital boss, though that alone is unlikely to foil potential data thieves. Security experts, never slow to engage in a spot of ambulance chasing, said the case illustrated the need to use full disk encryption in order to protect sensitive data from prying eyes. ®

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