It has always taken so much glee in lambasting the Government for its various data loss scandals, but now it seems that that bastion of British journalism, the Daily Mail, has gone and done the same.

Northcliffe Media, whch owns the tabloid paper, has admitted that a laptop containing the personal information of thousands of staff and contributors has gone missing.

The publisher said in a letter to its staff that the missing laptop contains names, addresses, bank account details, sort code numbers of employees as well as freelancers working for the Daily Mail and its sister company General Trust.

The company said in a statement: "The Daily Mail and General Trust confirms that a company laptop containing certain confidential information was stolen last week".

"The password-protected computer contained limited personal information on some employees and suppliers of the Group's newspaper divisions."

"The Daily Mail and Trust Group has notified police about the incident. It has contacted all those affected and apologised for any inconvenience caused by this breach in security."

The Daily Mail was one of the most critical of the Government's various data loss scandals.

Melanie Philips, a columnist for the Daily Mail, wrote when one civil servant who lost his laptop: "One's mouth just drops open at all this. Clearly, the depth of official incompetence in Britain is simply fathomless and inexhaustible. And, maybe, that's all there is to any of it".