Dave Duffy and Mike Birtwhistle recover stolen laptop
David Duffy and Mike Birtwhistle in Manchester Evening News

Since the story of our recovery of stolen laptops first appeared in the press last week it has taken on a life of its own and received widespread media coverage in the national and local press, radio and TV as well as being mentioned on many websites. We have noticed that some of the versions of the story raise questions about whether Mike Birtwhistle's company laptop contained any customer data at the time it was stolen, and want to set the record straight on this issue.

For the peace of mind of our customers I can confirm that we never use or store customer data on portable devices such as laptop computers or smartphones, and that no customer data was compromised by this theft. While Mike Birtwhistle's computer did contain some sensitive company information, all this data was encrypted in case the laptop should ever fall into the wrong hands. Although Mike Birtwhistle is able to log into company systems from his laptop, we immediately deleted all his company user accounts when the theft took place.

We have been receiving a steady stream of requests for help and advice on IT security over the last few days. The means by which we recovered the laptops was very straightforward - having already installed the right software it was more a matter of good luck than skill to track down the computers! As there seems to be a need for some no-nonsense advice about laptop security we will shortly be publishing some straightforward guidance on the subject.....