Two-year delay over theft alert

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LETTERS alerting people of missing documents have been sent out – more than two years after a burglary at the Register Office.

In August 2009, a heavy-duty safe containing around 600 registers of birth, death and marriage was stolen from Bracknell House in Bletchley.

The safe was the only thing stolen in the burglary.

Fortunately, the stolen documents cannot be used as formal identification and all are also recorded digitally.

The two-year hold-up in sending out the letters is, according to Milton Keynes Council, because of strict data protection guidelines, meaning the Identity and Passport Service has only just given the council permission to contact those affected using the computer entries.

Of the 600 registers inside the stolen safe, 365 recorded births, 180 for deaths and 38 were records of marriage.

A council spokesman said: “We are obviously very sorry that this happened and we fully understand this break-in will distress people.

“Although the physical register pages were stolen, they cannot be used in any way as identification, as they are register pages, not birth certificates.

“But the records – of births, deaths and marriages – have not been lost, as they were held on computer.

“We were awaiting approval from the Identity and Passport Service before we could use this electronic information to contact people.”

The council is sending out the letters 50 at a time, alerting people to their missing registers and informing them how to proceed with re-registering.

The spokesman added: “We have a total of around 600 letters to send out to customers who need to complete a fresh registration with us.

“We have started sending them out in batches of 50, so that we can deal appropriately with the number of calls we receive.

“Anyone who is affected will receive written communication from the register office in due course.”

Of the break-in itself, the motivation still remains a mystery.

The spokesman said: “The registers were in a very heavy-duty safe and it was the only thing the burglars took, and as we’ve stated, they cannot be used as a form of identification.”