An inquiry has been set up after a laptop computer holding sensitive information about a boy in care was bought at a car boot sale.
The machine was picked up at a sale in Blaydon, with its new owner discovering documents relating to Sunderland City Council and a boy in care when it was powered up.
Files carrying information including an assessment relating to carers, personal information connected to social service staff and a care plan for the child.
A spokesman for the council said: "We would like to thank the gentleman concerned for getting in touch to help us to begin to establish what has happened, and for his co-operation in arranging for the retrieval of the laptop.
“Sunderland City Council and its partner agencies take the protection of data very seriously. We have robust procedures to ensure that sensitive material such as social care records is stored securely and is encrypted by default on staff laptops to protect the privacy of customers.
“Staff are being reminded that they must not use unencrypted equipment, and to immediately report the loss of any IT equipment.”