You couldn't make it up. Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson poo-poohed identity theft, revealed his bank account number and sort code and dared anyone to get money from his account. So someone did!

They set up a direct debit of £500 a month to a Diabetes charity.

Details of Clarkson's Barclays account were published in the Sun as Clarkson tried to debunk the great Identity Theft panic, with Clarkson quoted thus: "Honestly, I've never known such a palaver about nothing." He also gave a hint about his address.

A mysterious person then set up the Direct Debit. Gloriously the bank can't find out who did it because of the Data Protection Act :-(

Now Clarkson writes in a Sunday paper: "I was wrong and I have been punished for my mistake."

Perhaps the authorities will wake up and realise that we are facing a potential epidemic of identity theft. This is the financial equivalent of a flu epidemic but there is no NHS and no identity theft vaccine available.

With the government itself having lost more people's identity information last year than any other business or organisation ever, it could find itself, and should find itself, being blamed for dereliction of good governance duty if it fails to find a good way for people suffering from identity theft to get redress and for people thieving other people's identities to be quickly detected and severely punished.