The lost Child Benefit database CDs containing the personal information of more than 25million people, have been found 'safe and well' - one at a HMV store in Newcastle, the other at a branch of Gamestation in Leeds, officials at HM Revenue and Customs have announced.
One of the discs was discovered by an eagle-eyed HMV sales assistant at its store in Newcastle city centre. Donna Eggnog, 13, told her boss that she spied the disc inside a copy of a CD by punk band The Scroungers when a customer returned it to the store saying it was "knackered".
Donna's mum, Kelly, who is still only 22 herself, said:
"It's ironic, really. We still get Child Benefit for Donna, and she's the one who's found the missing microchip!"
The other disc turned up in Leeds, where an in-store demonstration screen, supposedly playing the new Xbox360 game Mass Effect, revealed the names, addresses, National Insurance numbers and bank account details of thousands of benefit recipients, much to the displeasure of customers.
Gamestation store boss Max Payne told reporters:
"We realised straight away that something was amiss, and removed the disc. People watching only had enough time to write down the details of, say, 200 or so people, no more than that. It's no big deal."
The finds will be a relief to Chancellor Alistair, Darling after news broke yesterday that a video rental shop in Bromsgrove had received a 'mystery package' in the post containing a set of discs entitled 'Dole Cheats' which it said, were "just loads of lists".
Shop owner Alf Ackroyd, a pigeon fancier in his spare time, dispatched the package back to Whitehall this morning by way of his favourite and most trusted bird in his flock, Treasure.