Two men have been arrested by West Midlands Police’s fraud unit in connection with a cash for crash scam.
Officers from the police’s Economic Crime Unit executed warrants in Washwood Heath and Alum Rock and Telford as part of an operation targeting gangs who stage collisions to claim compensation.
Men aged 34 and 45 were detained at the addresses and questioned on suspicion of fraud and dangerous driving. They have been released under investigation while investigators continue to probe the allegations.
Five vehicles believed to have been used to commit the offences were also seized while documents were recovered from the Telford address.
It’s alleged the men are behind up to 50 cash for crash scam collisions across the Midlands including Birmingham many of which took place around Five Ways island, plus Warwickshire and Evesham.
Detective Inspector Kerrie Martin from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “Offenders will jam their brakes on at roundabouts in a bid to force the following vehicle to crash into them – and we believe there have been at least 10 such incidents recently at Five Ways.
“Our suspicion is these men have claimed around £100,000 from bogus insurance claims – but we are running a wider operation into an organised crime group, alongside the Insurance Fraud Bureau, that may have made millions from this scam over the last two years.”
A 30-year-old man from Lichfield was arrested on 13 February over the Five Ways collisions and has been released under investigation while enquiries progress.
The West Midlands has been identified as a UK cash for crash scam ‘hot spot’ with Birmingham having 10 of the top 30 postcodes identified by the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
Det Insp Martin said drivers can protect themselves against becoming victims by keeping their distance from the car in front and taking extra care at roundabouts.
She added: “Drivers should also be wary of vehicles with brake lights that aren’t working as this can often be a ploy used by cash for crash scam offenders as it again gives victims less time to react to their sudden braking.
“Having a Dash Cam is also a good way to capture evidence of these type of collisions.
“If anyone believes they’ve been the victim of a staged ‘accident’ then they should contact police while at the scene and take photographic evidence.”
Stephen Dalton, Head of Intelligence at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) added: “The IFB have been working with West Midlands Police on this extensive and complex investigation over the past year and today marked significant progress.
“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. Organised gangs involved in Crash for Cash scams put the lives of innocent members of the public at risk by deliberately causing collisions to line their own pockets from bogus insurance claims.
“Today’s outcome is a strong example that shows the result of police working together with the industry to put a stop to this activity. We will continue to work in partnership with West Midlands Police to bring justice to all those who engage in these reckless fraudulent schemes.”
Anyone who suspects someone may be involved with cash for crash scam is urged to call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or the Insurance Fraud Bureau on 0800 422 0421.