Solicitors are believed to be the target of a large-scale referral fee fraud, City of London Police said this week, predicting 'further police action' over the next few months.

Detectives from the City of London Police Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) have already interviewed nine people this month who it suspected submitted bogus whiplash claims in relation to made-up road traffic collisions.

The suspects were eight men and one woman aged between 20-50, from Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Wales. IFED said they were released while the unit’s investigation continues, 'with further police action expected in the coming months’.

The investigation opened in 2013 when insurers notified the police of personal injury claims which they suspected were fraudulent.

A spokesperson for IFED said solicitors must ‘carry out due diligence when taking on personal injury claims’.

An insurance fraud taskforce, set up by the then justice secretary Chris Grayling in December, is expected to report by the end of this year on how to combat fraud of all kinds, including motor claims. Its recommendations are likely to form the bulk of the government’s future plans for civil litigation.

The taskforce’s initial report, published in March, suggested there is no simple profile of a ‘fraudster’, with those involved ranging from organised gangs in ‘crash for cash’ scams to otherwise law-abiding citizens who commit insurance fraud when given the opportunity.