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Forensic data stolen in server theft

But phone evidence firm says 'all data restored'

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Thieves have stolen a computer server that contains files of forensic evidence used by police in serious criminal investigations.

FTS, a company that provides evidence on telephone use for police forces in connection with their investigations, confirmed the theft from its Kent premises.

The break-in took place at FTS' Sevenoaks office overnight on 6-7 August. The data contained on the server is believed to relate to cases where the evidence has already been disclosed to defence solicitors, as well as old cases where judgements have already been passed.

FTS said: "In the unlikely event that the server was accessed, none of the data stored on the server in any way compromises ongoing police operations. All the data was restored within 24 hours due to FTS' business continuity measures."

The serious nature of the work carried out by FTS, whose clients also include the Crown Prosecution Service and HM Revenue & Customs, has made the case a cause for concern in the criminal justice community. The company does not even reveal the location of its offices for security reasons.

Kent Police says it is pursuing a number of leads, while items found at the scene have been sent for forensic evidence.

Assistant chief constable Adrian Leppard said: "We are keeping an open mind at this stage as to the motive behind the burglary. However, we and the company have informed other police forces."

A spokesperson for the force told GC News that it could not say much more at this stage.

Shadow home secretary David Davis described the theft as extremely serious. "Terror investigations are extremely complex and depend on vital intelligence and evidence based on phone records," he said. "While we have to let the police get on with their investigation, it is essential that the government takes every possible step to protect this information and leave absolutely nothing to chance."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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