If you want to make a splash in the staged accidents business, it never pays to think small. Cars and vans? Forget about it. How many claimants can you get in a car? Four? five? Peanuts, mate. What you need is a bus, a fully-laden double-decker bus. That’s where the real money is.

Such was the logic applied by North West fraud team The Chester 12, who netted £157,000 between them by crashing cars into buses and vice versa around the streets of Chester, and doing insurers for the compensation money.

The insurance money, however, was merely the icing on an elaborate multi-layer cake of deception. A person wishing to be known as John Smith also reportedly sold the details of those involved in seven staged bus accidents to solicitors for £900 a time.

Smith was at the helm of Chester-based Swift Accident Solutions, the CMC who handled the cases of 177 of the 218 claimants involved. Running SAS like a military operation (or a Scandinavian airline, if you prefer), Smith was one of twelve people on trial at Madchester Crowd Court on charges of conspirating to perpetrate a fraudery.

Greed was the undoing of Smith and his co-conspirators, argued Peter Cadwalladerer prosecuting. He said it would have been too much of a bother to go after all 218 claimants, so the prosecution had decided just to focus on lynchpin Smith and the other ringleaders.

Whether or not local ‘comedian’ Darren “Chubby” Farley is in the frame, Bankstone was unable to confirm at the time of going to press, but, based on his unnervingly convincing portrayal of overweight baseball-capped nose-picking dimwit Wayne in this SAS promo video, perhaps he should be.

“Wayne was involved in an accident when a bus went the wrong way down a one-way street,” the voiceover tells us at 0:39 minutes, making scant attempt to draw any kind of a veil at all over the firm’s nefarious modus operandi. A bus driver, needless to say, was among the dozen in the dock.

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