'Crash for cash' insurance scam

Motorists involved in an insurance scam are said to have made millions in payments by braking abruptly and forcing drivers to hit their cars.

The gang, who allegedly cut brake lights so motorists travelling behind would have no warning, is thought to have made an average claim of £20,000 per incident.

Drivers across Lancashire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester were affected by the scam, which dates back to 2005.

A police investigation was launched in January, known as Operation Contact, to combat the insurance fraud.

So far 10 people have been charged and will appear before Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.

A further 14 people are on bail, said Greater Manchester Police, and several others are still being investigated as part of the operation.

Sue Jones of the Insurance Fraud Bureau said: "The success of Operation Contact shows the power of the private and public sector working collaboratively and sends a very clear message to those criminals involved in this type of crime."

Insurance fraud costs £1.6 billion per year, adding an average of £40 per policy to premiums.

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