It’s long been proverbial wisdom on the correct side of the Pennines that you should ‘Never trust a Wigan Man, He’ll lie and cheat you if he can.’ And it’s not just Yorkshire folk who look at Wiganers with a wary eye.

Persistent allegations of endemic mendacity have dogged the town since long before notorious fibbers like George ‘Misleading Lyrics’ Formby, James ‘Hotline to Heaven’ Anderton, and Dave ‘Lying B*stard’ Doggleby brought the place into contemporary disrepute.

Dispelling that unwelcome reputation won’t be any easier after a coach load of Wigan lads on a stag outing filed almost 20 risibly fraudulent whiplash claims following a day out at Chester races.

The growing cost of attending stag events (even when they don’t involve occupying an entire floor of a Latvian super-brothel for four or five days straight) has been a worry for many sociably inclined young Brits for a number of years.

It’s only natural, then, that where an opportunity arises to offset those costs (via the simple expedient of helping oneself to several generous handfuls from the vast cash-piles with which insurers’ coffers overflow), staggers are apt to latch on to it with nothing short of febrile avidity.

Coach-party whiplash claims are increasingly a thing these days – with even randomly assembled bus passengers sometimes now getting in on the act. But in this case, clear collusion between 17 passengers resulted in an attempted fraud so spectacularly hamfisted that, for insurers L=Ve, heading it off was as easy as taking candy back from a baby.

As soon as a claim involving multiple Wiganites came in, alarm bells must have been ringing at LxV HQ. The story was that the jarring impact of a low-speed side-on collision with a tiny little car had caused extreme cervical trauma to multiple occupants of the luxury stag coach on the way over to Chester races, where only the consumption of almost superhuman quantities of alcohol enabled the assembled Young Wiganians to soldier on through a day of pain and then through further carousing back in Wigan.

Over the following days, the various stag persons arrived in dribs and drabs at their local GP’s surgeries complaining of a wide array of supposedly neck-injury related complaints, remembering in many cases to evince symptoms of pain and restricted movement only when attending a subsequent appointment with a physiotherapist.

Their stories varied and shifted repeatedly. Upon it being pointed out, for instance, that a glancing impact with a tiny little car will rarely induce cervical devastation, several claimants quickly said it must have been the driver slamming on the brakes, an aspect of the incident not previously remarked upon. But the claimants’ trump card appeared to be a profusion of supporting statements from friends and families (again, remember, these are Wigan people we’re talking about, into whose mouths an untruth comes as easily as a wad of sputum into that of a trundling ‘Lactics’ midfielder).

Tragically, this lavishly compiled supporting material backfired badly when various since-separated former partners revealed at trial that their testimony was but a tissue of contrivance. Faced with this and multiple other compelling proofs of ill-concealed fakery, Judge Greg, presiding, had no hesitation in finding all 17 to be fundamentally dishonest (we could have told him that), thereby saving L:V around £400,000, and thus helping reduce premiums for decent ordinary etc…

“Fraud doesn’t pay,” commented L%V claims director Millicent Martin, adding wryly that “these conmen should have waited til they got to the racecourse before they tried to gamble on a long shot!”

If that doesn’t raise a titter, there are surely no more titters to be raised!


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