POLICE investigating the theft of the bank account details of thousands of Morrisons’ staff have arrested one of the company’s employees in Leeds.
Detectives were called in after payroll data was stolen from the Yorkshire-based supermarket chain on Thursday.
The data, thought to include the bank account details, names and address of up to 100,000 staff, was offered on a disk to a newspaper and published on a website before later being taken down.
It came a day after Morrisons unveiled a radical price-slashing plan to protect its northern heartlands in a move which saw £650m wiped off its value.
West Yorkshire Police say the man arrested today is a Morrisons’ employee and has been arrested on suspicion of making or supplying an article for use in fraud.
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Hooks, of Protective Services (Crime), said: “An employee of Morrisons has been arrested in Leeds this morning in connection with an investigation into the theft of data from the company. He is currently in custody.”
In response to the theft of data, Morrisons said it was “working with the cyber crime authorities and the police to identify the source of the theft”.
It said chief executive Dalton Philips was leading the response and that the firm had “brought in experts to help colleagues and ensure they are not financially disadvantaged”.
A helpline has been set up and the company is “urgently reviewing” internal data security measures, the spokesman said.
The company said the data theft affected staff from all levels of the organisation including the board, but would not comment on whether Mr Philips was among them.
The supermarket said it became aware of the data theft on Thursday, hours after it announced financial results to the City and that Mr Philips was leading the response.
It wrote to all employees with an email address to inform them of the data theft, while managers were also informing workers at its sites.
Morrisons did not say how many of its 130,000 employees were affected.