Recognising that, in doing so, we may very well be queering the pitch for a movie Bankstone News is hoping to err… pitch to major motion picture studios in the Greater Los Angeles Area, we couldn’t resist bringing you the story this week of how one Barry Mark Sandmann of Stroood came within a hare’s breath (that is the expression, isn’t it) of relieving several UK insurers of around £100k in bogus insurance claims, relying purely on his native wit and audacity, and a second hand ice cream van.

Aside from the many other singular and picaresque features that recommend it to aspiring screen writers, the story of the man the press are calling Mr Whiplashy has the irresistable appeal of presenting an opportunity to include the immortal screen direction Enter Sandmann. Although we’re thinking of saving the Metallica song of that name for later in the movie and kicking of with the Chordettes’ Mr Sandman (alternate versions of which would feature again later in the film, with a newly commissioned mockney version by Lily Allen over the closing titles).

We see Sandmann as a would-be master criminal ultimately brought low by his excessive devotion to vegetable-fat based extruded pseudo dairy deserts of the mobile variety. Certainly he is a figure of fun (how could he not be when his weapon of choice has a top speed of 45 and a tendency to blast out a plinky plonky rendition of Greensleeves at inconvenient moments), but there’s a distinctly sinister side to his character (visually suggested perhaps by a prominent ad for Magnum Dark or the old school Dark Choc Ice on the side of his van).

‘Yes, yes, yes. This is all very well. Or rather it isn’t,’ you may be thinking at around this point, ‘but what is the actual story here, for The Lord’s sake?!’ I think we’ve explained before that Bankstone News is not a ‘fact-sensitive publication’ and that the mere inclusion of the word ‘News’ in our name cannot reasonably be construed as imposing any absolute obligation to confine ourselves to story elements of a news, news-based, or news-like character. However, since you’ve asked so nicely:

Thirty-nine year old Barry Sandmann has just been convicted of staging at least one, possibly two, accidents of a dubious character, plus another one so manifestly fake (not to say imaginary) that it never even occurred, in his unpromisingly distinctive choice of vehicle, a Mr Whippy ice cream van (did we mention this?) in locations as diverse as Bristol, Burnley and Kent.

Sadly for Sandmann, the coincidental involvement of said ice cream van in at least three separate insurance claims within a short space of time set off alarm bells for insurers (and possibly that blo*dy Greensleeves thing again), prompting them to bring in crack fraudbusting outfit the iFEDs.

We’ll obviously have to pad the story out a bit for Hollywood, but essentially once the iFEDs got involved it was all over pretty quickly and Sandmann’s reign of icy carnage was brought to a premature end. For the movie we’ll probably need to add in the countless ice cream van prangs that would doubtless have ensued without the iFEDs early intervention, a dramatic chase scene of two, and possibly some kind of love interest. But the basic ingredients are all there.

If you’re still a bit confused about what actually happened (as indeed was Bankstone News, not that we really care), iFEDs lady detective Paula “DC” Doyle, explains: ‘In the space of two months, Sandmann not only tried to take out a policy to cover him for an accident that had already happened, but then tried to facilitate a crash for cash scam so that others could profit.”

Not on DC Doyle’s watch he doesn’t!

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