North Devon Council has apologised after dozens of people’s data was wrongly sent out to recipients of a newletter.

‘Human error’ meant 48 individuals’ names, addresses, ages, housing reference numbers and status of their housing application was wrongly shared over email.

The data, belonging to people on the council’s ‘Band B’ housing list, was sent to the 31 internal and 30 external recipients of the council’s Devon Home Choice newsletter.

Jenny Beckham, from Barnstaple, was one of the individuals whose data was shared.

She said: “I think it’s quite poor really; I didn’t understand it at first but now I do, I’m quite worried about how that information could have been shared.

“You don’t expect that sort of thing to happen.”

Jeremy Mann, head of environmental health and housing at North Devon Council, said: “We take data security very seriously and we have processes in place to protect our customer’s personal data.

“However, our staff are human and mistakes can happen.

“This data breach was the result of human error without any malicious intent and we acted immediately to remedy the situation.

“We have written to all those involved and we have taken action to prevent it from happening again, including more staff training and improved electronic security.

“Our data protection officer has already reported the incident to the Information Commissioner and we are awaiting advice from them.”

In a letter to residents seen by the Gazette, the council said an incorrect attachment was sent, and there was no malicious intent.

It said the majority of recipients were council staff or partner organisations who would ‘be aware of your situation in any event’.

The letter continued: “There are, however, a few contacts that are not in this group.

“Many of these are support workers who will be professionally obliged to respect your personal data.”

The council said action was taken to ‘recall’ the incorrect email and further emails were sent asking all recipients to delete the incorrectly sent email.