The former master of Trinity College (centre) is believed to have been affected by the theftBob Lee

Members of the Oxford and Cambridge Club have been informed that they could be at risk of fraud attempts, after data collected from the club’s membership was stolen.

A hard drive containing members’ private data is believed to have been stolen from the club’s London headquarters, prompting the club to write to its 5,000-strong membership with a warning to be alert to potential identity theft.

The theft was discovered on the 16th November, but has only just been reported amid a police investigation.

As well as alerting the Metropolitan Police, the club has hired its own private investigators to recover the stolen drive, which includes details of the home addresses, photographs and bank accounts of some members. The database did not hold information about members’ credit or debit cards.

Members included on its missing database include Stephen Fry, alumnus of Queens’ College, and Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees, former Master of Trinity College.

Data pertaining to honorary members including the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales are not affected, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

In a letter seen by the The Times, club secretary Alistair Telfer urged members to check their bank accounts for any “suspicious activity”.

“This situation has arisen as a result of the theft of a storage disk, and not as a breach of the cybersecurity system, and although the data contained on the disk is protected by multiple layers of security and heavy password protection, we have been advised by data specialists that there is a very remote chance that information could be obtained.

“As this could potentially enable identity theft, the management felt that members should be informed as a duty of care.”


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The letter also contained an apology to members for what Telfer described as an “unfortunate incident”.

“It is the last thing we need,” he continued, “We have no idea who took it.”

The club is located on Pall Mall in Westminster and was founded in its current form in 1972, after an amalgamation of the United University Club, founded in 1821, and the Oxford and Cambridge University Club, founded in 1830.

Membership of the club is only possible by election, and is restricted to Oxbridge alumni, honorary degree holders, members of an Oxbridge college, or members of Regent House (or its equivalent at Oxford, the Congregation). Prospective members must be proposed and seconded by existing members of the club before their election.

Membership for those aged 32 or over with a residential address within 100 miles of the club costs £1,250. Annual membership for current undergraduates of either Cambridge or Oxford is £208.

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