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Twelve men have been sentenced for their part in a 'cash for crash' scam, which targeted innocent motorists in Kent and Essex.
The gang, based in north east London, circled busy roundabouts identifying their victim and forcing them to crash into their car in a nearby road. Typically they would use two vehicles, a 'decoy' car and a second car.
Once they had chosen their victim and had safely left the roundabout in front of it, the decoy car would induce a crash by making a last minute manoeuvre in front of the second car. This caused it to brake heavily resulting in the car behind, driven by an innocent member of the public, to crash into the second car.
The decoy car that caused the collisions always left the scene without stopping. This meant the innocent motorist was unable to see the 'at fault car' and left them swapping details with the passengers of the second car who would pretend to be victims of the crash.
The driver and passengers of the second vehicle would then try to claim large amounts of money from the insurance company for injury and hired replacement vehicles.
The gang led by Shahzada Fahad, Shams Abbasi and Azim Tanveer, took part in four collisions in Kent and two in and Essex . Together they co-ordinated the scheme and ringleader Fahad frequently drove the decoy car.
The remaining nine defendants either lent their vehicles to be used by the gang in the collisions or allowed the gang to use their details as 'passengers' in the second car in return for a modest sum (some were actually in the car at the time, others just submitted claims saying they were). If the claims had been successful, estimates show that the loss to the insurance industry could have been as high as £235,000.
Det Supt John Hollands said: "This organised criminal network had absolutely no regard for their victims, old or young - it was whoever was most convenient at that time. They became quite skilled at locating their victims, circling roundabouts like hawks to find them, and submitting false claims. Thankfully though, our detectives have put a stop to their dangerous and fraudulent activities."