AN employee from Essex County Council used a council database to find out confidential information about a friend’s former partner and her children.

Grant King, 33, of Brunel Close, Basildon, was fined £3,809 at Basildon Magistrates’ Court for accessing a social services database 624 times.

He admitted 13 counts of obtaining personal information from a database while working as a business support officer at Essex County Council between 2010 and 2013.

In mitigation, King told the court he hacked into the system – which contains sensitive information about children and young people in care – because he was fed up in his job.

He said: “I was bored at work. It was sly and ridiculous, I know it was stupid.”

King was employed as a business support manager at Essex County Council and had a generic employee username and password which allowed him access to Protocol, the social services database.

The court heard the nature of his job meant he had no reason to log on to the system.

During his time at County Hall, King’s friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, became involved in family court proceedings over the custody of his children.

King admitted logging into Protocol and looking up the details about the children.

But he denied ever passing the information on to his pal – something Basildon Magistrates’ Court accepted.

The court heard King was caught after one of his victims heard, from another member of the family, her personal details had been hacked.

The woman contacted the authorities and King, who had a pregnant wife at the time, was suspended by Essex County Council while it launched an investigation.

King was then arrested in September and admitted logging on to the system.

He has since been sacked from his job and is now in a junior position at another company.

King was given credit for his early guilty plea and was fined £293 for each breach.

He was also ordered to pay a £29 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.