A BOLTON firm responsible for crushing insurance fraud rings around the UK has issued a stark warning to potential cash-for-crash drivers hoping to profit in the new year.

Keoghs, which now runs four separate Bolton offices and is based at the Parklands in Horwich, has recovered an estimated £37 million from car insurance rackets over the past 12 months.

Its fraud ring investigators have sparked the convictions of countless organised criminals invol-ved in six-figure car insurance frauds.

The Bolton News reported last month that the town remains one of the country’s hotspots for cash-for-crash insurance fraud scams.

Bolton is in the top 10 in the country for the offence, with London, Manchester and Liverpool all faring better.

So-called cash-for crash is where drivers intentionally are involved in car accidents with other vehicles or fabricate crashes, either by making them up entirely or staging an accident between two of their cars.

The costs of these fraudulent claims, unless detected, are incurred by the insurance companies, resulting in increased premiums.

One of the firm’s fraud ring champions, referred to as Craig as the nature of his work requires anonymity, said the costs can reach tens of thousands of pounds from just one fraudulent claim.

Corrupt car garages can over-value one or both of the vehicles, while costs for replacement vehicles can be gauged in tens of thousands. People also fabricate injuries and estimated loss of earnings.

Mark Beales, director of law enforcement liaison at Keoghs, said: “I would like to send the strongest possible message to fraudsters in Bolton that I personally make it my mission to ensure they are criminally prosecuted.

“Over the past 18 months, fraud reporting has changed significantly with all frauds being reported and collated centrally by Action Fraud.

“I also want to encourage the police to get in touch with us and organise days of action, so we can root out this criminal behaviour from the top down.”

The firm, which was formed from a merger in 1968 and whose staff has doubled from about 600 to more than 1,200 in the past four years, claims to be Bolton’s biggest private employer and has been responsible for multi-million pound busts.

Earlier this year, they uncovered a huge fraud ring in Burnhope, County Durham, which involved 261 separate insurance claims.

Seven members of the Wright family were among 60 people arrested.

The head of the clan, Alan Wright, was sentenced to four-and-half years in jail last year, with 25 “crashes” alone amounting to £514,000 worth of claims.