Con artists up and down the country have hailed 2010 as a ‘bumper year’ for cashing-in on fake compensation claims.
With the UK experiencing two extended periods of bitterly cold and icy conditions this year, the number of fraudulent claims for supposed trips, slips and falls has sky-rocketed.
The leap in ‘business’ for these insurance con artists has created a new elite class of fraudsters who are now living in luxury houses, driving expensive cars and paying for extensive plastic surgery for their wives and mistresses.
And the rapid expansion of fake compensation claims as a lucrative source of income has now led to a trade union being formed to represent the fraudsters, ironically calling itself ‘The Victims’ Union’.
Paul ‘The Hustle’ Davies from Norwich, who is chair of his local Victims’ Union branch, said he’s raked in almost £3.2m this year alone.
Describing his typical day, Mr Davies said: ‘I’ll usually get up at about 9:30/10:00am and pop out for a newspaper.
'I’ll get in a couple of “nasty” falls on black ice between my house and the paper shop on a mix of council pavements and private car parks, before taking my BMW out for a spin and crashing it in to a gritting lorry.
‘That’s about 10 grand I’ll have made before lunch. In the afternoon, I’ll take my pitbull for a walk and fall through the ice in a nearby pond – that’s another wee claim for negligence against the council.
‘If I’m feeling up for it, I’ll also go to the local library and slip on the steps outside; a concussion is worth at least £1000. Tidy.’
He said that when roads were particularly icy, he would visit neighbouring council areas to maximise his earning potential and make sure his working week was as productive as possible.
In one particularly impressive week last January, Mr Davies said he managed to claim for having both legs amputated and for being made impotent from slipping on ice and bashing his private parts on a bollard.
‘The claim form may have said I was impotent but there was no doubt in my mind that I was giving the local council a good f***!’ he boasted.
Terry ‘The Shark’ Collins, convener of the newly-formed union, said the organisation’s priority was to ensure the government didn’t do anything to put its members’ livelihood at risk.
He said: ‘We write letters and actively lobby to make sure the government response to the bad weather fits-in with what our members need to ply their trade.
‘For example, if the pavement outside a council building is covered in snow, we’ll pressure officials to clear and grit it – this then means they can be blamed when somebody falls and brakes their ankle.’
The Victims’ Union also offers joint membership with the Solicitors’ Union.