Five arrested in Hertfordshire over suspected multi million pound fraud ring

Five people suspected of involvement in a multi million pound fraud ring were arrested in dawn raids on Tuesday.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) said the arrests in Hertfordshire were part of a wider investigation which has so far led to 13 arrests.

The investigation codenamed Operation Mysterious was sparked after information gathered by the IFB was passed on to Hertfordshire police.

The first raids were made in November when drivers, a vehicle recovery agent and an insurance vehicle examiner were arrested. They were later charged and are awaiting trial for conspiracy to defraud insurance companies.

John Beadle, chairman of the IFB, said: "The success of this operation sends a very clear message to those criminal involved in this type of crime – the insurance industry is no longer an easy touch.

"We know who you are and we will continue to work with the police to bring you to justice."

In a separate operation, police in London arrested a man in connection with fraud involving a claims management company. It comes just a week before the claims sector faces mandatory regulation.

The staged accidents being investigated, said the City of London police, appear never to have been a reality.

Policies are believed to have been taken out purely for the purpose of making a variety of fictitious claims for personal injury, car hire, storage and recover, loss of earnings and vehicle damage.

Beadle said most staged accidents were believed to involve a claims management company, which would not always be wittingly involved. The IFB is in open dialogue with the claims management company regulator over the fraudulent activity.

"We will see what happens when full regulation comes in, but so far we have been in contact with the regulator," he said. "We respect that this is an independent regulator but we are happy to work with them."