Nearly £20,000 has been generated since 2005 from selling the names and addresses of people living in Pembrokeshire who are on the electoral register, the Milford Mercury can reveal following a Freedom of Information request.

Pembrokeshire County Council generated £2,691.50 from the sale of details from the electoral register last year alone and a total of £18,326.50 has been made between 2005 and 2012.

Although the register of electors is legally the property of the electoral registration officer, Bryn Parry-Jones in Pembrokeshire's case, the local authority is responsible for its maintenance.

The Mercury obtained figures detailing the amount of money made from selling the full and edited register of electors over the last seven years, ranging from £1,285 in 2006 to £3,314.50 in 2007.

The full register lists the names and addresses of everyone registered to vote at ordinary elections, while the edited register is available for general sale and can be used for commercial activities such as marketing. Electors can choose not to appear on the edited register.

In 2012, the names and addresses of 93,178 people from across Pembrokeshire on the full register of electors were sold to government departments and credit reference agents.

Some 17,205 people opted out of the full register in 2012 so their data could not be sold for commercial purposes significantly less than the 43,232 people who opted out for the same reason in 2010.

The Government departments that purchase data include the Environment Agency, the Financial Services Authority and any body which carries out vetting to safeguard national security.

Credit reference agencies can also purchase data, but must be registered under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.