The information watchdog has shut down a company which it says sold workers' confidential data, including union activities, to building firms.

A raid on The Consulting Association in Droitwich, Worcs, revealed a serious breach of the Data Protection Act, the Information Commissioner's Office said.

The ICO said it a secret system was run for over 15 years enabling employers to unlawfully vet job applicants.

Action is being considered against more than 40 firms who used the service.

Past and present customers included Taylor Woodrow, Laing O'Rourke and Balfour Beatty, the ICO added.