Three men have been arrested over fake car crashes set up to defraud insurance firms.

Police raided five addresses in Reading at 8am on Tuesday as part of an investigation into “crash for cash” cons in which fraudsters cause road crashes to claim insurance money.

The arrests came after five suspect crashes in Oxford, Abingdon, Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire between March and September last year.

Det Insp Louise Roddy said: “This operation sends out a clear message that Thames Valley Police takes such offences seriously and will deal with any offenders robustly.”

The three suspects, Reading men aged 30, 38, and 39, were arrested on suspicion of fraud, and a 27-year-old man was yesterday being held by immigration officers.