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June 5, 2009    

Brits faking burglaries to scam insurance

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by David Masters

Brits desperate for cash are attempting to scam insurance firms by pretending they’ve been burgled, a senior police officer warned this week.

Chief Constable Julie Spence said a recent rise in the number of fraudulent burglary claims is one of the “twists of the economic recession”.

Spence cited 10 cases in recent months in her north Cambridgeshire beat where fictitious burglaries have been reported.

“We are talking here where people have invented crimes with the aim of making false insurance claims,” she said.

She added that the rise “could be a side effect of the recession.”

“The recession will probably not cause law-abiding people to start stealing but it may persuade people to commit these kind of offences.”

As standard practice, insurance firms pay out for stolen goods once the crime has been reported to the police, and the claimant has been given a crime number.

Fraudulent claimants gamble on the fact that police will be too busy to visit the scene of the crime and investigate in person.

However, Spence warned: “We investigate every burglary. That is our policy

“We are moving back to attending scenes of crime.

“The problem is that it takes as long an investigation to prove that a crime didn’t happen as it does to prove that one did happen.”

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