Thousands of customer details have been used by fraudsters following the theft of a Cable & Wireless database, an investigation has found.

It was snatched when an employee went on a business trip to Pakistan in 2005. The data has since been used illegally in call centres in the country, where customers back in the UK were duped into disclosing credit card details, according to an enquiry by the BBC.

Internet service provider Bulldog, a former subsidiary of the telecommunications firm, owned the database at the time of the robbery. It stored more than 100,000 customer details, including names, home addresses and financial data. Some customers have become victims of credit card fraud and identity theft with thousands more exposed to financial scams.

The British telecommunications company has served an injunction against a former executive, Seemab Zafarm, in relation to the case. It orders her to return all of the details that she holds, the investigation claims. Zafar denies possessing any of the customer information.