Merton Council has raked in nearly £14k in the last four years selling off residents’ data to third parties.

A freedom of information request by the Wimbledon Times revealed the council makes an average of £3,400k a year selling electoral information of those living in the borough.

Electoral roll data includes names and addresses of people signed up to vote in elections.

Last year alone, the council made £3,470.5 profit from selling data, less than the total for 2017 which was £3,626 .

ALSO: Thousands in taxpayer money spent sending councillors and staff on trip to France

In 2016 and 2015, the council made £3,391.5 and £3,358.5 respectively. In total this comes to £13,846.5 the council has earned over the past four years.

Councils have been bashed by critics, including campaign group Big Brother Watch, for such transactions – claiming it undermines the trust voters have in local government.

A spokeswoman from Merton Council said this was a perfectly normal practice.

“The council, like all other authorities, sells electoral register information, because it is required to by law.

"The full register is purchased by credit reference agencies and used for credit checks.

"The open register, which is an extract of the electoral register, can be bought by any person, company or organisation such as charities to confirm name and address details."

ALSO: Merton Council once suspended an employee WITH pay for 503 days

The council was also asked what this money is then put towards.

“All residents can get their names and addresses removed from the open register either by opting out at the time of registration or by contacting the electoral services office," the spokeswoman added.

"The money raised from purchases of the register is returned to the electoral services budget.”