South East Wales

Crash for cash: Five more guilty over insurance scam

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Media captionThe scam operated out of a garage based in Pengam in Blackwood

Five people have been found guilty over the biggest car insurance fraud investigation in the UK.

They were convicted of making six insurance claims worth £144,000 between 2009 and 2011. Two were found not guilty.

It brings the total number of convictions in the scam - which involved the deliberate damaging of vehicles - to 81.

The case involved 28 separate claims and 57 cars, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Byron Yendell, Peter Yendell, Gavin Yendell and Rachel Yendell

The fraud ring cost the insurance industry £763,068.

It operated out of a garage based in Pengam, Blackwood, which was known as both St David's Crash Repair and Easifix and owned by the Yandell family.

They were the masterminds of the scam, Gwent Police said, and they provided the insurance fraud service for scores of friends and relatives.

Caught by their CCTV

But they were eventually caught by their own CCTV, driving a Land Rover into a forklift truck to make it look like the car had been in an accident.

Byron Yandell, 32, his father Peter Yandell, 53 and wife Rachel Yandell, 31, along with Gavin Yandell, 31, and Michelle Yandell, 52, were all jailed for between six and two years.

Following the verdicts, Catrin Evans, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Wales complex casework unit, said the operation was "a highly-organised, calculated and extensive conspiracy to defraud".

Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption Some of the 57 cars crashed for cash

"It involved defendants participating in the arrangement of fake road traffic accidents and insurance fraud," she said.

"The vast majority of cars supposedly involved in these fake accidents were recovered to a single garage that was at the centre of the criminal operation."

Ben Fletcher, director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, said "Crash for cash scams, such as Operation Dino, have a real impact on society, putting the lives of innocent people at risk and costing honest policy holders almost £350m each year.

"These investigations and convictions send a powerful message to the public that if you are committing insurance fraud then the risk of being caught and prosecuted is very real. The IFB works alongside insurers and police forces up and down the country to detect fraudsters and bring them to justice."

On Thursday:

Bethan Palmer, 26, from Newport, guilty of conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice

Stephen Pegram, 49, from Blackwood, guilty of conspiracy to defraud

Nicola Cook, 41, from Hengoed, guilty of conspiracy to defraud

Nicola Rees, 48, from Bargoed, Caerphilly County, guilty of conspiracy to defraud

Stephen Brooks, 45, from Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, guilty of conspiracy to defraud

Adam Fear, 27, from Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, not guilty of conspiracy to defraud

Matthew Davies, 33, from Pontypridd, not guilty of conspiracy to defraud

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