A North London council has suspended its bin collection provider from handling sensitive material after letters containing residents’ personal information were blown into gardens and gutters. 

Brent Council is investigating a “data breach” after council documents fell off a Veolia truck on its way to a depot in Croydon. 

According to local blog Wembley Matters, the letters contained full names and addresses of Brent residents and “some very confidential matters”. 

It said some of the documents, of which there were reported to be around 700, “ended up in people’s gardens” while others were blown into gutters.

Read more: Wembley tower blocks passed despite royal box security fears

The council confirmed it has suspended Veolia, which has worked with Brent since 2014, from handling confidential information “for the time being” and the matter has been passed on to the Information Commissioner. 

It said sorry to those who were affected by the incident and that it had been working hard to rectify things. 

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “We sincerely apologise to the Brent residents affected by the data breach by our waste contractor Veolia.

Read more: 'No plans' for McVitie's job cuts in Harlesden

“As soon as we were made aware of the error we took immediate steps, together with our contractor, to recover the information. 

“Following several sweeps of the area where the loss took place, we have done everything possible to safely recover the information. 

“We are notifying relevant parties, where appropriate, and the incident has been reported to the Information Commissioner.

“We are working closely with Veolia and have suspended their management of the council’s confidential waste for the time being. 

“A full investigation is now taking place into how this incident happened so lessons can be learned and more robust measures put in place to ensure this can never happen again.”

Veolia’s current contract with Brent Council, which covers recycling and general waste collection, is set to end in April 2023. 

A Veolia spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to all residents who have been affected by this unacceptable incident and have taken immediate action to recover and secure any confidential waste.

“We take this matter extremely seriously and are conducting an urgent investigation into the circumstances of this incident and will continue to work closely with Brent Council in order to limit any impact.”