STAFF at a convenience food giant with a site in Hampshire are considering legal action after a “hugely concerning” data breach, a law firm says.

Greencore Group PLC has said its IT systems were targeted in December by an outside party and that the hacker may have gained access to data concerning current and former staff.

The business employs more than 13,000 people at 13 sites including Chandler's Ford. It supplies convenience foods to retailers and food service businesses across the UK, including products sold under supermarkets’ own labels.

Law firm Hayes Connor, which specialises in data breaches, said it was working with more than 35 people affected by the breach and was receiving new enquiries almost daily.

It said internal documents involved in the hack are thought to have contained job roles, salaries, bank account details and national insurance numbers.

Christine Sabino, the specialist at Hayes Connor representing those affected, said: “The information we have received is hugely concerning and further answers are clearly needed.

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“Greencore claims there is no evidence that data has been misused, but there is no way to tell for certain that this is the case. No guarantees can be provided about the future either.

“This company employs thousands of people across a range of sites, but no real indication has been provided on how many have been affected. While we have heard first-hand from a number of people worried by these developments, there will likely be many more who are also concerned about what has happened.

“Employers have a duty to ensure that incredibly sensitive information is kept safe and secure, so this type of incident warrants a significant investigation. We have started to make our own enquiries into the case and are determined to ensure that our clients get the answers and justice they deserve.”

Dublin-headquartered Greencore said in a statement: “We take matters of data security extremely seriously and as a business we had prepared for potential IT incidents of this type, knowing that they were on the rise.

“In December 2021 Greencore was subject to such an IT security incident but we were able to follow our incident response planning, taking immediate action to contain the incident and secure our systems. We’ve also been working alongside a team of IT forensic experts who continue to investigate the incident. They identified evidence suggesting some data was accessed by the unauthorised third party behind the incident.

“We have therefore been notifying those involved, which does include our current and former employees. We’ve been working hard to ensure they are fully supported by the business, offering free access to credit and/or identity monitoring services for 12 months and putting in place a team to answer questions they may have.”