Ice cream van wanted

A fraudster who used a 'Mr Whippy' ice-cream van to stage £100, 000 worth of fake accidents is being sought by police.

The ice-cream van has been linked to three separate fraudulent insurance claims, which would have costed insurers around £100, 000 had they been paid out in full.

Barry Sandmann, 39, was convicted for his part in one of the accidents involving the ice-cream van in his hometown of Strood.

Sandmann reported he had been in an accident with the van on February 5 2014.

A forged estimate for the repairs to the vehicle was sent to Allianz for £23, 880.

When the ice-cream van was inspected in Leicester it was recognised for another claim to NFU Mutual months before in Burnley for £15, 400, which was cashed by someone using a false Irish driving licence.

A further Covea insurance case involving the same ice-ream van supposedly happened in Burnley in August 2014.

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Fake Mr Whippy van wanted for fake insurance claims (City of London Police )

Their engineer found the van was using false plates and was a different model and colour to the van it was supposed to be.

They were unable to trace the owner of the vehicle and the other vehicle allegedly involved in the collision was found undamaged for sale on Gumtree just 12 days later.

The driver and two other men in the vehicle were given police cautions after admitting the claims were false.

Images of the ice cream van taken by all three insurers showed the stock in the van and its mileage was the same, showing it had not been driven at any time between the accidents.

Detectives are now seeking the van in a bid to prevent further fraudulent claims.

City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department’s investigating officer, Detective Constable Paula Doyle said: “We’re keen to hear from anyone who may have seen this ice cream van, or knows who owns it, as there are others involved in setting up this scam that we have not been able to identify.

“What first appeared to be an isolated incident has been uncovered as an organised scam and we’re determined to try and identify and bring all those involved to justice.”

As well as the incident with the ice cream van, Sandmann admitted to lying about the time of another genuine accident to try and get insurance cover for damage caused to another van when he reversed into it

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and fraud by false representation on April 29 at the Old Bailey, where he will be sentenced on May 27.

Anyone with information should call IFED on 020 7164 8200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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