DARLINGTON MP Jenny Chapman has reassured residents that confidential data will not be compromised after computer equipment was stolen during a break-in at her town centre office.

Thieves broke in to her constituency headquarters, in the town’s Coniscliffe Road, over the weekend.

Computer equipment was stolen, containing personal information from voters who have spoken to the MP about constituency matters.

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Mrs Chapman, who is in London on Parliamentary business, said the intrusion was “disruptive”.

She said: “Thankfully, these sort of incidents are quite rare in Darlington.

“The police have responded quickly and came straight round.

“We have just got to get on with the job, but there is a lot of equipment that is going to need to be replaced.”

“I came straight to London without going into the office, so I only know from my staff, but it seems [the thieves] were after IT equipment.

“It is disruptive, unhelpful and annoying.

“It is less upsetting when it is a work place that is broken into, rather than a domestic burglary, but sadly these things happen Mrs Chapman was elected as Darlington’s MP at the 2010 general election, replacing the long-serving Alan Milburn.

She broke the news of the break-in to her followers on the social networking site Twitter on Monday (February 25) morning.

She tweeted: “Bad start to the week, office been broken into.”

Mrs Chapman moved to reassure anyone who might be concerned that confidential data could fall into the wrong hands.

She said: “It is all password-protected and backed up, so as soon as we can replace the ICT equipment it will be business as normal.

“The key thing is trying to minimise the disruption to the service we provide to people in Darlington.”

Mrs Chapman indicated the equipment the thieves managed to make off with had been in use for some time and was far from state-of-the-art.

She said: “It was the least appealing kit you could imagine, all solid stuff that has got to last for several years.

“They must have been very disappointed to realise we did not have an office full of iMacs and other flash gear.”

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to call police, on the non-emergency number 101.

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