The specialist claims unit of law firm Keoghs claims it has saved its insurance clients more than £1.2m on fraudulent motor insurance claims over the last 18 months.

“The average amount of money we are saving for our clients is around £15,000 per case, which soon adds up,” said Howard Young, partner in charge of the unit.

Young said that fraudulent claims groups were well established and in the north-west alone it was estimated that fraud costs £30m a year.

“It is organised crime and the extent of it beggars belief,” Young said. “There are rings of people involved in fraudulent claims, who know exactly what they are doing and make a good living from it.”

Young admitted that fraud was difficult to prove, but in many cases where fraud was suspected, the case was dropped and did not get to court.

He said it was in the public's interest for the fraudsters to be caught because in the long-run it was them who suffered from higher premiums.

Keoghs' specialist claims unit has 20 staff and offers in-house training in spotting fraud to its clients.