The drive home from a hospital appointment in Manchester “turned into a nightmare for pensioners Alma and Eric Gallanders,” writes Stephen Wombat in the Daily Mail this week.

When their stereotypically age-appropriate Micra collided with a Lexus, the octogenarian couple were pitched straight “into the middle of one of Britain’s biggest insurance frauds,” Wombat claims.

The Gallanders were more than a little surprised when Lexus driver Abdullah Ahmed insisted they were responsible for the prang. They were a lot surprised when hauled in for questioning by the police, accused of racially abusing Mr Ahmed.

Alma told the Mail she was distressed and upset by the language Mr Ahmed’s statement claimed they had used.

The North West, of course, is a notorious centre crash for cash claims, with Manchester currently at number four in the IFB’s top ten C4C cities, but it was some time before the racial abuse smokescreen cleared and the true nature of Mr Ahmed’s game became apparent.

The crash occurred in October 2007, but only now have the Gallanders finally seen justice done as Burnley-based bad boys Rezwan and Rehan Javed of accident management company North West Claims Centre were sent down for running a fraud ring linked with 700 suspected staged accidents.

A joint Axa-IFB investigation found that the Lexus – supposedly running up storage bills for 111 days after crashing with the Gallanders – had in fact been tracked by traffic cameras on 13 occasions whilst ‘in storage.’

One of 35 drivers used by the Javed brothers and subsequently convicted, Abdullah Ahmed admitted in court that he had invented the racial allegations.

The Javed operation was just one of “25 substantive investigations ongoing” into suspected motor claims fraud networks. 122,000 fraudulent claims, worth £840 million, were detected last year according to the ABI – merely the tip of a suspected £1.9 billion iceberg.

Former butcher Eric Gallander told the Mail ‘It is so hard to believe people were sitting down and plotting all this out and that our accident was just a small part of this huge scheme. I am so relieved that it is all over now.’

For you maybe, Mr Retired Butcher, but for the IFB the fight goes on. Members of the public have a role to play too. There’s now a dedicated number you can call to make a false allegation of racial abuse. To make a spurious report simply dial 0800 228 7363.


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