Hundreds of sensitive council documents found in London estate

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Boxes in unlocked room

Hundreds of sensitive documents have been found in an unlocked London estate storage unit, the BBC has learned.

Child protection and rent arrears documents – showing names, addresses, and confidential information – were found on the Gauden Estate, Clapham.

Campaigners say the find could include files missing from a historical sexual abuse investigation, which they believe was “covered up”.

Lambeth Council has moved the files to a “secure location” for review.

The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association say the discovery could include 140 boxes of council documents that have gone missing, related to abuse suffered at the Shirley Oaks Childrens’ Home.

Image caption Lambeth Council say the documents “have been removed” to be “thoroughly reviewed”

“It’s imperative that the history of these documents is actually found out,” said former Metropolitan Police officer Clive Driscoll.

Three people were convicted of child abuse which took place at Shirley Oaks’ in the 1970s and 80s.

Ex-residents claim Lambeth Council has “covered up” the “industrial scale” abuse which took place at the children’s home.

Lambeth Council is set to pay tens of millions of pounds to former Shirley Oaks residents.

Correctly identifying the documents could be “could be the difference between a successful and failed prosecution”, Mr Driscoll added.

Image caption Campaigners say 140 boxes of council files are missing relating to abuse that took place at Shirley Oaks Childrens’ Home

A spokesperson for Lambeth Council said the store room had been “re-secured, and the documents it contained removed”.

The documents will now be reviewed to determine whether a data breach has taken place.

“From an initial assessment no identifiable personal data relating to any Lambeth children’s homes, prior to their closure in the 80s and 90s, have been found,” the spokesman added.

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