Police have charged a Morrisons employee with fraud after a probe into the theft of payroll data relating to thousands of members of staff from the Bradford-based supermarket firm, the Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed.

The staff member, Andrew Skelton, has also been charged with an offence under the Computer Misuse Act and another under the Data Protection Act, the CPS said.  

Skelton is alleged to have distributed sensitive information without permission while employed at the company’s headquarters.

David Holderness, from the Crown Prosecution Service, Yorkshire and Humberside, said the CPS had been working closely with West Yorkshire Police in connection with the case and concluded there was sufficient evidence to charge Skelton, and that it was in the public interest to do so.

“This defendant now stands charged with serious criminal offences and has the right to a fair trial,” he said.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

Skelton will appear at Bradford Magistrates’ Court on 2 December.

A statement from Morrisons confirmed one of its employees had been formally charged in relation to the theft of colleague data in March.

“We are extremely grateful to the police for their perseverance in pursuing this to the point when charges can be laid. We do not wish to make any further comment while the criminal case is ongoing,” it said.