A £20,000 reward has been put up for assisting the return of the child benefit CDs lost in the post by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), it was revealed today.
The offer comes after more than two weeks of fruitless police searches along the likely route of the discs, including a trawl through a rubbish tip.
The CDs, containing the details of 25 million parents, went missing after being despatched from HMRC offices in Tyne and Wear to the National Audit Office (NAO) in London.
The Metropolitan Police, which is leading the hunt, said today that dozens of detectives and specialist search officers had so far been unable to track down the discs.
Searches have taken place at HMRC locations at Waterview Park, Newcastle and Customs House and the Department for Work and Pensions in Longbenton, where computers were forensically examined.
TNT depots in London, Accrington, Durham, Cumbernauld and Lount have also been scoured, while inquiries have been made with Royal Mail and a waste disposal site at Rainham.