13th January 2020

On 10 January 2020 James Close a passport worker at the Durham Passport Office was sentenced to 12 months in Prison, suspended for 2 years for a number of offences which included theft of passport photographs from the Passport Office.

Mr Close kept the passport photographs reportedly of girls aged from 8 years old to 16 years old in a locked drawer. He could give no explanation for stealing the photographs. His barrister stated the girls were attractive to him but he could give no further reason.

It appears there may have been a breach of data protection in respect of the passport images of the girls involved. In collecting the passport photographs in a drawer apparently for his own personal use Mr Close no doubt breached the Passport Office’s procedures. There appears to have been a breach of data protection laws in terms of their data processing.

The individuals whose photographs were stolen by James Close may now be considering claims for compensation against the Passport Office for the distress they no doubt suffered on learning of James Close’s actions.

We have a specialist team of solicitors specialising in data protection claims.  If your child’s image was one of those stolen by James Close please contact our specialist solicitors Richard Hardy or Andrew Freckleton.