Prosecution puts the brakes on camper van theft claim worth £22.5k

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A man has been sentenced after he lied to police that his camper van had been stolen and then took pictures of a hired one to support a fraudulent theft claim worth £22,500.

Following an investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), Levi Loveridge pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at Inner London Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, and was given 250 hours of community service and ordered to pay £700 in court costs.

Loveridge began his fraudulent activity when he lied to Essex Police and reported his camper van as stolen.

A day later, Loveridge submitted a claim to LV= for the alleged theft. To substantiate his claim, he provided the insurer with proof of ownership, stating it was worth £22,500. He also sent a number of photos that he’d taken of the vehicle, and the registration plate number in the photos matched the one on the ownership documents.

But when LV= got in contact with the previous owner of the vehicle with this registration number, he confirmed that it wasn’t registered to the camper van in the photos but actually belonged to a different one that he’d sold to Loveridge for £800. It wasn’t drivable and Loveridge even needed a low loader when he went to collect it.

LV= also examined the photos of the camper van submitted by Loveridge and found one on a hire company website that looked identical. The insurer contacted the company, which confirmed that the camper van was theirs and that Loveridge had hired it out.

The company’s policy is to put a tracker on all of its camper vans in case they’re stolen when hired, and it showed that Loveridge stopped for a period of time at a National Trust property in the Peak District. IFED visited the property and confirmed that this was the location where the camper van was in the photos submitted by Loveridge.

City of London Police’s detective constable Daryl Fryatt, who led the investigation for IFED, said: “Loveridge’s false theft claim was planned from the start, but LV= helped to expose his trail of deceit, making IFED’s part of the investigation much more straightforward, leading to his eventual punishment.”

“While some people may think that insurance fraud is victimless, fraudulent claims like the one seen in this case costs the industry billions each year, which in turn adds to the price of premiums for everybody who buys insurance.”

Clare Lunn, fraud director at LV=, said: “Our anti-fraud teams work tirelessly to root out false claims, given the circumstances we’re pleased with the result. Fraudulent claims can result in increased premiums for honest customers as a by-product of the work involved in fighting them, which is why LV= always presses for the toughest possible sentences.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk