Accountancy software giant Sage has said it believes the data of some of its UK customers has been breached.

The Newcastle-headquartered firm stated on its website: “We believe there has been some unauthorised access using an internal login to the data of a small number of our UK customers so we are working closely with the authorities to investigate the situation.

“Our customers are always our first priority so we are communicating directly with those who may be affected and giving guidance on measures they can take to protect their security.”

It highlighted a dedicated helpline and also provided a email address for customers worried about the potential breach.

Sage provides accounting, payroll and payments software for more than six million small and medium-sized businesses around the world and is credited with providing the bedrock of the North East tech cluster.

The FTSE-listed firm, which has an annual turnover £1.3 billion, has customers in 23 countries but those outside the UK are not thought to have been affected.

News agency Reuters, quoting a Sage source, reported that the personal details of the employees of about 280 British companies were potentially exposed while the source added that Sage was working to ascertain whether any data had been stolen.

Sage confirmed to BusinessCloud that it contacted the Information Commissioner's Office and City of London Police to report the alleged breach.

"We are investigating unauthorised access to customer information using an internal login," it added in a statement. 

"We cannot comment further whilst we work with the authorities to investigate –  our customers remain our first priority and we are speaking directly with those affected."