Since last March, anyone in the UK applying for a renewal or new passport has received a biometric one that can store fingerprints, facial scans and iris patterns on a built-in chip.

Because they’re believed to be more secure than traditional passports, the British government has plunged £415 million into the plan.

Now a consultant for a security firm, Lukas Grunwald, has raised serious concerns over the safety of the new passports, as he has claimed to copy the information stored in them to blank chips that can be used in fake passports.

If this is true, it could also call into question the Government’s plans for national ID cards, which would also store biometric data.

“The whole passport design is totally brain damaged”, said Mr Grunwald to

“From my point of view all of these [biometric] passports are a huge waste of money – they’re not increasing security at all.”

As yet, the information cannot be altered when it’s copied across to the blank chips; however, Grunwald said that he could get through any automated entry system using the cloned chip.