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Financial firm’s documents found in Bangor alley

By Allan Preston

Hundreds of discarded financial documents have been found scattered in a Bangor alleyway.

The resident who discovered them said he suspected many contained personal information.

However, the finance company that owns the documents, NIIB, said no customer information was in the papers, and that it was investigating the issue.

On Monday, Justin Gawn posted a video on social media showing the documents at Primrose Lane in the seaside town.

"Not that Primrose Lane was ever a sight for sore eyes, but today it's also littered with hundreds of fax pages from the old NIIB building on Central Avenue, many containing personal and account information," he said.

It's believed the documents were left inside the former NIIB building after it was sold.

Mr Gawn later alerted Ards and North Down Borough Council. The council confirmed it was contacted on Monday afternoon about the litter, "some of which appeared to be papers from the former NIIB building containing personal information".

It added: "The council responded to the request and on arrival at the site were made aware that contractors working on behalf of NIIB had cleared the site of the litter. There was no requirement for any action on behalf of the council."

The NIIB finance company was founded in Bangor in 1956 and bought over by the Bank of Ireland Group in 1984. Since January 2016 the group has been trading as Northridge Finance.

The company said: "We can confirm that some obsolete NIIB procedure documents and templates were found among other rubbish unrelated to NIIB.

"The NIIB materials did not include any confidential or customer-related data. In consultation with Ards and North Down Borough Council, we have acted immediately to remove all rubbish on the lane and we are investigating the circumstances which led to this incident."

DUP councillor Wilson Irvine said the discovery was deeply concerning.

"Any sensitive information left in the building after it was sold should have been cleared out under data protection," he said.

"Potentially these documents could have been found and used for fraud."

The Information Commissioner's Office said it was aware of the incident and would be making enquiries.

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