Bus crash ‘victim’ was in jail at the time of the accident

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A fraudster who tried to falsely claim compensation for a bus crash was in jail at the time of the accident, a court heard.

Operators Arriva had agreed to settle claims from passengers after one of their vehicles was involved in a minor shunt at Dewsbury bus station.

One of the genuine victims was Sukhpal Singh, who was awarded £5,000 for whiplash, but the pay-out inspired his brother and two friends to make false claims.

They included Ajmer Singh, 33, who said he had suffered back and neck injuries in the prang on January 30 last year.

But Leeds Crown Court heard on Tuesday that he had been in custody for drink-driving on the date of the accident.

Two other men, the genuine claimant’s brother Jaspal Singh, 42, and Dilbir Singh, 39, also made false bids for compensation.

Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said when CCTV was checked following Dilbir’s claim, his photo did not match anybody on the bus and his claim was deemed to be fraudulent, as was Ajmer’s.

He said if they had succeeded they could each have received payouts of between £4,000 and £6,000.

Jaspal was the only one to make a successful claim due to an investigator mistaking his picture for a passenger on the bus. He received a payout of £1,650 in compensation with nearly £2,500 going to his solicitors.

It was only later, when the CCTV was reviewed, that his false claim was discovered.

All three men, from Huddersfield, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.

Ajmer and Dilbir were given 12-month community orders with 30-days activity requirements and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

Jaspal received a 12-month community order with a three-month curfew and was ordered to pay £750 in compensation.

The court heard that all three men had drink problems.

Recorder Gregory Perrins told the trio: “This was clearly premeditated, fairly well planned and it was thoroughly dishonest.

This was not a victimless crime as it has a direct effect on companies such as Arriva, and the level of services they are able to provide.”