A cheeky fraudster hired a restored vintage VW camper and then pretended it was his own wrecked van that was stolen.
Levi Loveridge’s own white camper van was just a stripped out shell on wheels.
But in a bid to claim £22,500 from insurers he hired the blue van in mint condition, swapped number plates and then took pictures of it in a scenic location.
Loveridge, 24, then reported the theft of his van to Essex Police.
A day later he made an insurance claim and provided a number of photos of the hired van vehicle with the swapped number plates that matched the one on the ownership documents.
But he was rumbled when insurer LV= got into contact with the previous owner who said the van in the photos were not the same as the one he sold to Loveridge for £800.
He added the van was not even drivable and Loveridge had needed a low loader when he came to collect it.
Insurance investigators at LV= also found the van in the photos matched one on a hire company website.
The hire firm confirmed the camper van was theirs and Loveridge had hired it out on in March 2016.
It added the hire van was fitted with a tracker and it showed Loveridge stopped for a period of time at a National Trust property in the Peak District.
City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) then retraced Loveridge’s route and found the location where pictures of the camper van were taken.
Loveridge of Heybridge, Essex, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation in April 2016 when he appeared at Inner London Crown Court on 17 December 2018.
He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was given 250 hours of community service and ordered to pay £700 in court costs.
Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt said: “Loveridge’s false theft claim was planned from the start, but LV= helped to expose his trail of deceit, making the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department’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.”
LV= Fraud Director Clare Lunn 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.”