Tesco drivers benefitted from ‘stage-managed’ crashes

A dozen Tesco delivery drivers allegedly conspired with fraudsters to carry out more than 50 stage-managed accidents to claim damages

File photo of a Tesco store sign, in Warrington, Britain, January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo/File Photo

Shajil Kumar

Supermarket giant Tesco has said it has unearthed a ‘cash for crash’ scam wherein some of its delivery drivers were staging accidents to help fraudsters claim hefty damages.

A dozen drivers working out of Tesco’s depot in Greenford, west London, allegedly conspired with people outside the company to carry out more than 50 stage-managed accidents in 2019 and 2020, The Times reports.

The “victims” would then bill Tesco for the loss of value to their vehicles, personal injuries, and the cost of a hire car, the daily added.

Tesco’s investigators grew suspicious when they found that the claimants had their cars repaired at garages registered at the same address and that several used the same solicitor to file their claims. Lawyers acting for Tesco believe the conspiracy involves more than 100 people.

In what is being described as the UK’s largest ever civil fraud trials, Tesco is suing the drivers and their co-conspirators in 32 separate cases at central London county court. The retailer is relying on other delivery drivers, forensic engineers, and a corporate investigator as witnesses.

The Times reports that in nine cases Tesco has been awarded almost £400,000 in cumulative damages, while Judge Heather Baucher has also imposed and an additional £18,000 each as ‘exemplary damages’.

One Tesco driver, Manish Parmar, admitted his involvement in five staged accidents between July 2019 and January 2020, and he was paid £200 per crash by fraudsters, the daily added.

Insurance Fraud Bureau director Ursula Jallow said these types of scams cost insurers millions of pounds, which is ultimately paid by consumers.

A Tesco official told Metro.co.uk, “We welcome the decision of the judge at the central London county court, but cannot comment any further on an ongoing legal matter.”