A GROUP of employees at a UK business with two County Durham hubs are considering legal action after it emerged that banking details, national insurance numbers and salary figures were ‘compromised’ during a data breach.

In December last year, Greencore PLC, who have facilities in Peterlee and Consett, are reported to have experienced IT disruption on part of its network, when a third-party attempted to access its systems.

During the data breach, those responsible were able to access internal business documents containing information on current and former staff, which included their roles and salaries, as well as personal information like bank account details and National Insurance numbers.

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Throughout the UK, Greencore employs around 13,000 people across 35 locations, but it's not currently known how many were affected in the data breach.

In the aftermath of the breach, specialist data breach law firm Hayes Connor is now working with over 35 individuals affected by this incident and has called on Greencore to work quickly to provide information on what has happened.

Christine Sabino, the legal specialist at Hayes Connor, who is representing those affected, wants answers about how the information was leaked and information about who was able to access the information.

She said: “The information we have received is hugely concerning and further answers are clearly needed.

The Northern Echo: Greencore's facility in Consett. Picture: GOOGLE/Greencore's facility in Consett. Picture: GOOGLE/

“Greencore claims there is no evidence that data has been misused, but there is no way to tell for certain that this is the case. No guarantees can be provided about the future either.

“This company employs thousands of people across a range of sites, but no real indication has been provided on how many have been affected. While we have heard first-hand from several people worried by these developments, there will likely be many more who are also concerned about what has happened.

“Employers have a duty to ensure that incredibly sensitive information is kept safe and secure, so this type of incident warrants a significant investigation. We have started to make our own enquiries into the case and are determined to ensure that our clients get the answers and justice they deserve.”

After contacting Greencore, The Northern Echo were told by the company that they managed to ‘contain’ the incident after it happened in December 2021 but are still working with current and former employees of the business to ensure they feel safe that their data hasn’t been used.

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It’s not know at this time the identity of the ‘third-party’ who stole the data, but enquiries are still ongoing from both Greencore and security experts about how the data breach occurred.

A spokesperson for Greencore PLC said: “We take matters of data security extremely seriously and as a business we had prepared for potential IT incidents of this type, knowing that they were on the rise.

“In December 2021 Greencore was subject to such an IT security incident but we were able to follow our incident response planning, taking immediate action to contain the incident and secure our systems.

“We’ve also been working alongside a team of IT forensic experts who continue to investigate the incident. They identified evidence suggesting some data was accessed by the unauthorised third party behind the incident.

The Northern Echo: According to Greencore, the breach was 'contained' after it occurred but security experts are still looking into the matter. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO. According to Greencore, the breach was 'contained' after it occurred but security experts are still looking into the matter. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

The spokesperson added: “We have therefore been notifying those involved, which does include our current and former employees. We’ve been working hard to ensure they are fully supported by the business, offering free access to credit and/or identity monitoring services for twelve months and putting in place a team to answer questions they may have.

“This support is still available, and we encourage anyone we have notified to contact us for further support.

“Throughout this incident, Greencore has continued to provide the same quality food and service that all our customers expect from us, and we thank our customers and colleagues for their ongoing support.”


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