HACKERS held Swindon's police and crime commissioner's photographs hostage.

The revelation came as Wiltshire Police plans to this week shine a light on its digital investigations team.

Angus Macpherson, who has acted as police and crime commissioner for Swindon and Wiltshire since 2012, said: "I was actually subject to a ransomware attack on my personal computer two years ago. The criminals demanded money and effectively held some of my personal data and photographs hostage.

“Luckily, I had backed up my data in the cloud, so I was able to retrieve everything, and that is the main lesson learnt from my experience – make sure you back up your files, either on the cloud or an external hard drive.

“I would encourage everyone to make sure you read up on the basic steps you can take to keep you and your personal information safe online.”

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard added: “Cyber crime is the perfect example of a strand of criminality which 30 years ago was almost unheard of, but yet now takes up so much of our time, energy and expertise.

“This is complex and important work and I know those involved in our new Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit have the skills and technology to make a real difference in combating this type of crime."