A firm of loss adjusters, Woodgate & Clark Limited has been fined £50,000 for unlawfully disclosing personal data which had been obtained illegally by senior employees and private investigators.

A director, Michael Woodgate and a senior member of staff, Colum Tudball, at Kent-based Woodgate and Clark Ltd have also been sentenced to financial penalties, along with the private investigators involved, John Spears and Daniel Summers.

The data subject involved in the case had made a claim on an insurance policy in relation to a fire at business premises he owned in Lancashire. The private investigators unlawfully obtained confidential financial information, including details of his banking transactions, and disclosed it to Woodgate and Clark Ltd, which then disclosed it to an insurer client.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court had returned 15 guilty verdicts in December 2017 after the ICO prosecuted the defendants under s55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. The sentences were as follows:

  • The company, Woodgate and Clark Ltd, was convicted of two counts of unlawfully disclosing personal data. It was fined £50,000 and was ordered to pay £20,000 costs . Woodgate and Clark director Michael Woodgate, 67, of King Street, West Malling, Kent, was convicted on one charge of unlawfully obtaining personal data and two counts of unlawful disclosing personal data. He was fined £75,000 and was ordered to pay £20,000 costs.
  • Colum Tudball, 54, of Farriers Walk, Kingsnorth, Ashford, Kent, senior loss adjuster at Woodgate and Clark, was convicted on two charges of unlawfully obtaining personal data. He was fined £30,000 and was ordered to pay £20,000 costs. Private investigator.
  • Daniel Summers, 38, of Pilgrim Close, Radyr, Cardiff, was convicted in his absence of two charges of unlawfully obtaining personal data and two counts of unlawfully disclosing personal data. He was fined £20,000 and was ordered to pay £20,000 costs.
  • Private investigator Adam John Spears, 78, of Pleasance Road North, Lydd on Sea, Kent, was convicted of two charges of unlawfully obtaining personal data and two counts of unlawfully disclosing personal data. He was fined £10,000 and was ordered to pay £2,500 costs.