Police arrest three in latest sting linked to 'cash for crash'

Three men have been arrested in Lancashire as part of an ongoing investigation into ‘cash for crash’ scams.

The raids, which were made this morning, were carried out by Durham Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Group as part of the investigation codenamed Operation Nacho, part of Operation Sledgehammer.

Warrants were executed at a total of four addresses in the Derwentside area of Lancashire.

In July 2009 Durham Constabulary approached the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) with large amounts of paperwork related to insurance claims highlighting anomalies with suspicious links to local businesses.

Following further investigation, the Bureau found multiple member insurers were affected by the scam and was able to provide Durham Constabulary with valuable intelligence.

The investigation involved a specialist team of detectives within Durham Constabulary who investigated the information provided by the IFB regarding the alleged scams in operation in the local area.

A "substantial sum" of money is thought to have been accumulated by the individuals involved in the scam, who are suspected of making false insurance claims around vehicle accidents.

Detective Sergeant Amanda Henderson said: “Our enquiries have been underway for several months and are continuing.”

“We are very pleased with the arrests, which follow on from two men being arrested in April as a part of the same investigation after Police raided two businesses and two houses in the Derwentside area. We take insurance fraud very seriously and will continue to work to tackle serious and organised crime.”

Glen Marr, director of the IFB said: “The success of this operation sends a very clear message to those criminals who are targeting innocent motorists - we know who you are and we are coming after you.

“The IFB has been working closely with Durham Constabulary on this investigation and these arrests are testimony to the power of a collaborative partnership between Police and Insurers. Can I urge anyone with information on insurance fraud or who fears they may have been a victim of a staged accident to call our free confidential hotline on 0800 328 2550 or online at www.insurancefraudbureau.org/report.”

The three people arrested are currently being questioned at Consett and Durham Police stations. Enquiries continue.