Ministers are engaged in talks that could see British intelligence agency GCHQ recruit part time cyber crime experts, it has been reported.

The possibility comes after warnings from the agency’s director Iain Lobban that GCHQ had been struggling to hold on to the “internet whizzes” needed for cyber operations, people who were being drawn away to higher salaries in the private sector.

According to The Daily Telegraph the idea of part time “iPlods”, who would work at the agency for one or two days per week, was described as “purely speculative” by a GCHQ spokesman.

The agency was nevertheless “constantly examining new ways to harness and attract the talents of the cyber security specialists we need”.

Lobban also recently said he was looking for “unique” people, like former Second World War code breaker Alan Turing, to give the agency the skills base it needed.