Nine months extra jail time for the Carlisle cash for crash mastermind

Mark Roger McCracken
Mark Roger McCracken

A criminal locked up for masterminding a £600,000 fraud has had nine months added to his sentence for other crimes.

Mark McCracken, 48, was jailed for seven years last month having played the lead role in a huge insurance scam dubbed “cash for crash”.

That illegal enterprise ran between 2010 and 2014. McCracken was said to have hidden behind multiple fake identities as he organised fantasy car crashes to justify claims.

He also drew in criminal associates. These included four local garage owners and car dealers who provided him with MOT certificates for cars bought under the false IDs and MOT certificates with heavily reduced mileages.

In total, 34 other people were involved in the fraud and occupied a variety of roles.

But police who carried out a painstaking probe brought the gang members to justice. All were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court last month, when McCracken was handed a seven-year jail term.

But this was increased yesterday, when McCracken was brought back to the crown court to face a number of other charges.

From the dock he pleaded guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods.

Prosecutor Damian Nolan said each of the offences emerged after police visited McCracken’s childhood home at Brindlefield, Wigton, in September, 2014, as part of the cash for crash investigation.

Related articles: Full list of defendants in cash for crash trial

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Tents and other camping equipment were found during a search of the property. It emerged these had been stolen in 2010 from a town industrial estate.

Due to problems caused by the break-in – and theft of £16,000 property – the owner eventually had to shut the business down.

Police also recovered 34 solar panels and five inverters. These, it emerged, had been part of a £140,000 haul taken from a site near Silloth in early 2011.

Finally, a stolen passport was located in a “hidey hole” at Brindlefield in which a host of fake documents had been located. The passport had been taken during a burglary in the Grange-over-Sands area 15 years earlier.

Although the owner had since passed away, it was identified by her daughter.

There was no evidence, the court heard, to suggest McCracken had been involved with either of the burglaries. Nor did he appear to have used the stolen passport.

Judge Peter Davies said of McCracken’s latest crimes: “They are all serious offences, and are all deserving of imprisonment.”

But he was aware the criminal had recently received sentences of two-and-a-half years (in 2015) and seven years last month. As a result, Judge Davies stated he would have to bear in mind “the principle of totality”.

For the new offences, McCracken was given nine months in prison, a term which will be added to the sentences he is already serving.

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