In September 1996 Darlene Emples of Cheshunt, then aged 36, sued the BBC (unsuccessfully as it turned out) over a Monty Python sketch entitled Hell’s Grannies aired on 7 December 1969 which, she claimed, had caused acute mental distress, robbed her of her childhood, and left her too afraid to leave the house for days on end throughout the 1970s and 80s.

Let us hope, Dear Reader, that the sensitive Mrs Emples did not see the recent edition of retail cosmetics bible Bodyshop Magazine in which the following disturbing account of senior citizen delinquency appeared. Eileen Culff (no relation) of Manchester, aged 62, Bodmag reports, was given a three-year gaol sentence (suspended) for her part in a cynical crash-for-cash scam which aimed to defraud OAP insurer SAGA of literally tens of thousands of pounds.

Culfff told SAGA she’d been driving along happily in her Nissan Micra when she accidentally ran into the back of a BMW driven by Dane Bowers, and please could she have a load of cash. What she didn’t mention was that one of the three passengers she claimed to have crammed into her granny-mobile was none other than her daughter Michelle Culffff a.k.a Mrs Dane Bowers!

The many occupants of both cars put in whiplash claims worth between £4,300 and £7,435, while Bowers claimed for repairs and courtesy car costs of over £90,000. It didn’t take crack motor insurance fraud squad the FEDs to spot that the whole thing had been trumped up. Eileen Culfffff cracked quickly under questioning and admitted that they’d made the whole thing up.

While mother and daughter got suspended sentences, Bowers is going down for a two-year stretch. Some might think that Bowers had it coming. Others might choose instead to note how lightly the sinister Ma-Baker-like Eileen Culfffffff got off. Did she smile sweetly and offer jurors Werthers from her handbag?

The terrible truth is that Mrs C is just the tip of a worrying new wave of older fraudsters.

Old Folks’ insurer SAGA had better keep its wits about it – or it could be swept away by a tidal wave of so-called Silver C4Cers in their Yarises, B-Maxes and Sanderos.


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