Car crash tv

I don’t often watch daytime television. For one thing I don’t have time, and for another it’s mostly such unmitigated rubbish that I can’t be bothered. The other day, though, I switched on whilst grabbing an early lunch, and promptly found myself watching a programme about car insurance scams. This was such a happy coincidence, given that I’m trying to write a story on the subject, that I told myself it was research and settled down to watch.

In the end the details weren’t all that dissimilar to what I’d already read about the subject. In this case it involved an entire minibus full of young men supposedly travelling to a stag ‘do’, only to crash into another vehicle and suffer damage and injuries. The authorities became suspicious when it turned out that all fifteen occupants had identical injuries, that none of them had any luggage with them, and that the supposedly fresh damage on the minibus was actually rusty.

Like so many of these programmes the tone was very self-congratulatory, with the police and insurance experts spelling out how they’d tracked the fraudsters down and how hard it was to get away with this sort of crime. A stray thought occurred to me, though. Doesn’t giving away this much information about a crime give people ideas? Ideas on how to cheat the system; ideas on how to get away with it? As a writer, I know it did me…

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