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[ISN] Clarkson stung after bank prank


7 January 2008

TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson has lost money after publishing his bank 
details in his newspaper column.

The Top Gear host revealed his account numbers after rubbishing the 
furore over the loss of 25 million people's personal details on two 
computer discs.

He wanted to prove the story was a fuss about nothing.

But Clarkson admitted he was "wrong" after he discovered a reader had 
used the details to create a 500 direct debit to the charity Diabetes 

Clarkson published details of his Barclays account in the Sun newspaper, 
including his account number and sort code. He even told people how to 
find out his address.

"All you'll be able to do with them is put money into my account. Not 
take it out. Honestly, I've never known such a palaver about nothing," 
he told readers.

But he was proved wrong, as the 47-year-old wrote in his Sunday Times 

"I opened my bank statement this morning to find out that someone has 
set up a direct debit which automatically takes 500 from my account," he 

"The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection 
Act and they cannot stop it from happening again.

"I was wrong and I have been punished for my mistake."

Police were called in to search for the two discs, which contained the 
entire database of child benefit claimants and apparently got lost in 
the post in October 2007.

They were posted from HM Revenue and Customs offices in Tyne and Wear, 
but never turned up at their destination - the National Audit Office.

The loss, which led to an apology from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 
created fears of identity fraud.

Clarkson now says of the case: "Contrary to what I said at the time, we 
must go after the idiots who lost the discs and stick cocktail sticks in 
their eyes until they beg for mercy."

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