A twelve month police investigation called Operation Sledgehammer, has culminated in the arrest of four people from Derwentside, Darlington, bringing the total number of arrests to 25.
Police are looking into organised crime involving conspiracy to commit insurance fraud where insurance companies are being targeted for the recovery, repair, disposal or replacement of vehicles damaged in accidents, in addition to car hire costs.
Superintendent Rob Coulson said, “This has been an extensive, protracted investigation into a so-called ‘crash for cash’ scam.
“We believe this to be organised crime on a large scale, involving more than 300 accidents, averaging around £14,000 per claim. In total, we believe these crimes have resulted in losses of well over £3m to those insurance companies.”
A common view point is that insurance fraud is a victimless crime; Supt Could said this is not the case. Law-abiding motorists are charged higher car insurance premiums as a result.
Glen Marr, Director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, added, “The IFB has been working closely with Durham Constabulary on this investigation and these arrests show the power of a collaborative partnership between police and the insurance industry.
“Together with the police, we will continue to find, expose and pursue individuals and gangs involved in this kind of criminal activity.”