A former senior manager at a staff recruitment agency in the West Midlands has been accused at the High Court of a “brazen hijack” of his old employer’s Facebook site.

A judge was told that Ian Barrett converted the site belonging to Contract Options (West), based in Walsall, into his own site and used it to advertise of behalf of a rival agency.

Mr Justice Foskett, sitting at London’s High Court, ruled that there was sufficient evidence to justify an interim order requiring Mr Barrett, who was not in court, to deliver up the site username and password, plus documents relating to databases of clients and workers.

Contract Options won the order after giving a cross undertaking to pay compensation to Mr Barrett if he successfully contests the accusations against him at a future court hearing.

Contract Options has 14 offices across England and Wales providing temporary and permanent staff to clients in catering, engineering and several other areas. The Walsall office, established in 2009, concentrates on providing staff for the industrial and traffic management sectors, including staff working on motorways.

Paul Gott QC, appearing for the company, told the judge Mr Barrett was the most senior employee at the office and its de facto director. He resigned last month and asked for immediate release from his contract, said Mr Gott.

Since then it had become clear that Mr Barrett, who had run the Contract Options Facebook site for the company, had retained company documents and converted the site into the “Ian Barrett” site.

Mr Gott told the judge: “A former senior employee has raided the cupboard and we are now asking him to disclose what he has taken from the cupboard and any deals he has done. He has basically replaced his name and hijacked the page and the interactive client list being used by my client.”

The 952 “friends” on the site were workers or people seeking work, and the site had been used to make work opportunities known to them.

Mr Gott said: “His conduct appears brazen and there appears to be little or no prospect of him ceasing to act in breach of the post-termination covenants of his contract unless ordered to do so.”