A TOTAL of 34 defendants charged in an alleged “cash for crash” scam pleaded their innocence before Newport Crown Court yesterday.

In October of last year, 86 people were charged as a result of Gwent Police’s Operation Dino, which spent two years investigating an alleged scheme involving “crashes for cash”, in which accidents were allegedly staged to defraud insurance companies.

The charges claimed the incidents stemmed from a scheme operating out of a Blackwood garage known as both St David’s Accident Repair Centre and Easifix, in Pengam.

A total of 19 defendants, some facing multiple charges, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud insurance companies by false claims, in a period spanning July 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011.

They were: Robert Alexander, 44, of Gilbert Place, Cardiff, William Veall, 48, of Park Road, Bargoed, Darren Phillips, 30 and Leanne Phillips, 32, of Woodbine Road, Blackwood, Dean Cronin, 39, of Marloes Road, Cardiff, Jonathan Cook, 44, of Alexandra Road, Hengoed, Arkadiusz Aulejtner, 36, of Hillside, Bargoed, Kenneth Jones, 70, Susan Jones, 59, Byron Yandell, 31 and Rachel Yandell, 29, all of Queen’s Road New Tredegar, Lee Evans, 34, of Main Road, Hengoed, Jonathan Fuller, 41, of St Margaret’s Avenue, Blackwood, Peter Yandell, 52 and Michelle Yandell, 51, of Wheatley Place, Blackwood, Gavin Yandell, 29, of Clos Claerwen, Blackwood, Patrick Callaghan, 33, of Cross Place, Cardiff, Jennifer Cosh, 38, and Anthony Callaghan, 36, of Pontygwindy Road, Caerphilly.

Byron, Rachel, Peter and Gavin Yandell, Anthony Callaghan, Evans, Fuller, Cronin, Darren Phillips, Alexander, Nathan Morris, 29, of Commercial Street, Bargoed, Gareth James, 32, of no fixed abode and Adam Faircloth, 24, of Nant y Rhos, Blackwood, also deny charges of conspiracy to steal.

In addition, 13 (Byron, Rachel, Peter and Gavin Yandell, Anthony Callaghan, Evans, Morris, Fuller, James, Faircloth, Cronin, Darren Phillips, Alexander) denied conspiracy to dishonestly receive stolen goods, six (James,Byron, Rachel, Peter and Michelle Yandell, Leanne Phillips) denied charges relating to handling stolen goods, nine (Byron, Rachel, Peter and Michelle Yandell, Patrick and Anthony Callaghan, Cosh, Kenneth and Susan Jones) denied conspiracy to conceal criminal property and Byron and Rachel Yandell and Kenneth and Susan Jones pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders.

Peter Yandell also denied a further charge of fraud against him.

Under the second indictment, 12 pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud companies involved in the insurance industry.

They were: Nicola Cook, 40, of Alexandra Road, Hengoed, Terrence Lee, 67, of Edge Hill, Blackwood, Christine Symonds, 47, of Frost Place, Blackwood, Gemma Williams, 29, Allan Williams, 52 and Lynn Williams, 53, of Aeron Place, Bargoed, Richard Jones, 66, of Apollo Way, Blackwood, Alex Barwood, 35, of Underwood Avenue, Bargoed, Maureen Barwood, 61, of Glyn Ebwy, Hengoed, Stephanie Barwood, 31, of Main Road, Hengoed and Samantha Cook, 41, of Trem Penallta, Hengoed.

More defendants in the case are due to appear in Newport Crown Court today and tomorrow.

All those who appeared in court were granted bail, with the exception of Gareth James, who was remanded in custody.