84 South Wales 'crash for cash' accused in court

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Media captionIt is claimed car crashes were staged deliberately to defraud insurance firms

Eighty four defendants have appeared in court after being charged under a so-called "crash for cash" fraud investigation in south Wales.

A special all-day sitting took place at Cwmbran Magistrates' Court in Torfaen before a district judge on Thursday.

The oldest defendant was a 71-year-old woman from Cardiff and the youngest was a 23-year-old woman from Blackwood.

Charges include fraud against insurance firms, conspiracy to steal vehicles and money laundering.

In total, 86 people face charges, with the remaining two due to appear in court next week.

The case comes after a two-year investigation by Gwent Police into a "crash for cash" scheme where accidents are staged to defraud insurance companies.

More than 40 people appeared before magistrates on Thursday morning, speaking only to confirm their names and addresses, with the rest appearing in the afternoon.

In the morning session, all but one of the defendants was bailed to appear at Newport Crown Court on various dates in early November. One man was remanded in custody.

Those charged are mostly from the Gwent valleys, with 13 from Cardiff and three from Pontypridd.