The biggest number of claimants ever tried together in an insurance fraud case have been handed sentences ranging from community service to custody.

Eight men claimed personal injury compensation following a minor collision between a car and bus in Cardiff.

Seven of the group were on the bus in May 2014 when it was hit from behind by a car driven by 30-year-old Merrick Williams (pictured).

Investigators found the impact of the low-speed collision would have been too small to have caused any injuries, but one passenger was seen on CCTV apparently being thrown to the floor, while others held their neck, hip and back.

AIG, which insured Williams’ vehicle, contacted the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department in August 2014 after receiving personal injury claims from each of the group. Medical reports were submitted from five individuals.

Officers investigating the case found two of the claimants were friends with Williams on social media. It was further discovered the car involved was hired through a car rental company insured by AIG, meaning it had liability for the crash and any subsequent claims.

Williams, of Barry Island, was sentenced yesterday to 12 months in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and dangerous driving. He was disqualified from driving for two years and fined £200.

Kassim Mukbill, Nigel Thomas Iti, Hamada Shuyeb, Kieran Murphy, Fahmi Haddad, Aaron Ryan and Matthew Saunders, all aged between 24 and 33 and from the Cardiff area, each admitted fraud and were given a suspended prison sentence, 150 hours community service and a £200 fine.

Detective Constable Aman Taylor, who led the investigation, said: ‘This is the largest number of claimants tried together for an Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department case and shows the extent that people will go to for greed and money.

‘By planning the bus crash, the men deliberately put the safety of innocent people, including children, at risk in a bid to make money and take advantage of the personal injury claims system.’