The BBC has apologised after failing to reveal its source for a claim that one in seven RTA claims results from a staged collision.

Home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds made the unattributed claim on a News at Ten report on 15 February on the conviction of a gang responsible for a staged collision on the M40 in which a woman was killed.

In a delayed response to a complaint from Hodge Jones & Allen partner Peter Todd, the BBC admitted its only source for the claim was the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

That organisation, funded by the insurance industry, told Symonds that ‘cash for crash’ fraud cost £392m a year and accounted for one in seven personal injury claims.

The BBC reply to Todd said: ‘[Symonds] acknowledges that you are correct to say the figure comes from the insurance industry and he wished to add that in hindsight we should have correctly attributed the figures, for which we’d like to offer our apologies.’

Todd had made the complaint on the basis of what he described as ‘factually inaccurate and biased reporting’.

He said: ‘It may be that insurance companies have suggested it might be true, however the BBC should consider before reporting such a statement as fact whether it is accurate.’

He added: ‘As a solicitor who has acted for victims of personal injury accidents for 20 years I have dealt with thousands of cases but I have never encountered a case in which the opponent even alleged that the injury arose out of a staged collision, let alone proved it to be true.’