Simon Read: Crooks hit more than premium costs

Crashing for cash is a crime that costs each British driver around £40 a year through increased premiums on their motor insurance. Yet, as we reported earlier this month, more than a million motorists have thought about staging a motor accident in order to make a claim on their insurance. More shockingly some 340,000 say they having already successfully done so.

I hope that the news this week that a serial crasher – or fraudster as he should be better described – has been jailed for four-and-a-half years makes people think again about operating the scam. It's not just the cost to everyone else that I object to, but the fact that for the scam to work, an innocent victim has to be duped. And often the victims suffer far worse than simply losing their no-claims bonus.

The crook jailed this week was Mohammed Patel, pictured, a 24-year-old Manchester man. Amazingly for one so relatively young, he clocked up nearly 100 staged car crashes, duping his victims and the insurance industry out of a whopping £1.6m. Patel is believed to have charged just £500 a time to crash his clients' cars and apparently had a queue of people lining up to use his unsavoury services.

His method was simple. He would drive in front of innocent motorists and then brake hard, forcing them to crash into the back of his vehicle. He would then claim to be the victim with innocent drivers shaken up by the smash seemingly all too willing to believe him. He was only caught it seems because he had a favourite smash zone – at a roundabout in front of an office building in Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester. Office workers noticed the number of accidents and informed police who quickly brought the odious fraudster to justice.

As anyone who has ever been involved in a crash – even a simple bump – will know, the shock can be long-lasting, even leading to the need for counselling in some cases. So while Patel and his crooked cronies were staging their money-making stunts, their victims were, you could say, being mentally and physically assaulted. Against that human cost, the £1.6m swindle counts for nothing and anyone contemplating a similar scam should consider the horror they could be bringing into someone else's life.

*The energy price wars are continuing apace with OVO Energy launching a market-beating energy plan on Thursday. It replaced First:Utility as the cheapest supplier and meant, for the first time, the two cheapest players in the market are both outside the big six. That should be a wake-up call for the big suppliers which appear to have been keeping prices high, despite plummeting wholesale costs.

But there's a greater energy battle going on which needs to be sorted as a matter of urgency. One in four families are struggling to afford heat and power, which means the Government is failing in its battle against "fuel poverty". The number of households where at least 10 per cent of income is spent on gas and electricity is expected to climb to 6.6 million this year. That's a statistic which shames the nation.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

    Laura Norton: Project Accountant

    £50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine