Investigation launched as passport returned to wrong person
An investigation has been launched by the Home Office after a teenage girl's passport was returned to the wrong address.
The passport of a 17-year-old girl from Sidcup, in south east London, was mistakenly sent to a home in Cradley Heath after a mix-up following a renewal application.
The passport, which had its corners cut off and contained the personal details of the girl as well as names and addresses of her next of kin, was addressed and posted to 27-year-old Dale Grinsell.
That was after Mr Grinsell applied to the Home Office to renew his old, expired passport.
His application went through without a hitch and he received his old passport back from the Passport Office, but several weeks later the second passport dropped through the letter box.
He said: "We were a bit concerned when we saw the letter, as although it looked like it might contain a passport I had already received mine.
"On opening the letter we couldn't believe it. Staring back at us from the photo page was a young girl with long, curly red hair - certainly not me.
"I was shocked - to have someone else's passport in your hands without their knowledge is quite a scary thing.
"Luckily we are a law-abiding family, but who knows what could have happened if this had fallen into the wrong hands?
"You certainly do not expect this from a Government department, and it does make you wonder whether anything of yours has been sent to the wrong place, or ended up in the wrong hands."
The passport has now been returned to its rightful owner.
Mr Grinsell, a music supervisor, added: "It's a bad mistake. It's surprising that they could make such a mistake with such a sensitive piece of identification.
"I would be concerned about what the person receiving it could do with it."
The Home Office has now made it clear that they are not taking the incident lightly, and has launched an investigation after being contacted by the Express & Star.
A spokesman for Her Majesty's Passport Office said: "We take the security of the passport and the safety of the passport holder's personal information extremely seriously and we have robust procedures in place to protect personal data.
"Any suspected breach of security or loss of personal information is investigated thoroughly."
The investigation into the incident is expected to take several weeks.
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