10573324_xxlOne of Britain’s best-known and biggest providers of private cosmetic surgery has been targeted by computer hackers, it was revealed.

Confidential personal details of nearly 500,000 people who made an enquiry about surgery via Harley Medical Group’s website were stolen in an apparent bid to blackmail the company.

Patients interested in surgery are asked to fill in an online form ahead of an appointment, with details including phone numbers, email address and date of birth.

That personal information was accessed and stolen in a security breach, the firm admitted in a letter to patients posted online.

Later, Harley Medical Group posted on Twitter: “We’re sorry details of initial enquiries have been accessed illegally and assure clinical and financial information is secure.”

The company said that it had improved its security.