ONE of the country’s biggest accident claims firms which was making up to seven million phone calls a year has been closed down by Government officials.

The Claims Management Regulator has removed Brighton-based Stanley Financial Holdings Limited’s licence to act as a claims management company.

It follows a failed appeal by bosses at the firm, previously known as Complete Claim Solutions, to overturn a £90,000 fine for breaches of the industry code.

The company made national headlines last year when an undercover investigation alleged staff encouraged customers to exaggerate and fabricate injuries sustained in minor bumps and scrapes in their cars and submit false claims.

The firm, based in Castle House in Sea View Way, Brighton, was first investigated in 2013, receiving a warning in October of that year.

A letter of warning over the firm's conduct was issued 12 months later for contacting customers without their consent even though they had signed up to the Telephone Preference Service.

The regulator stated that although 47 complaints was small in comparison to the volume of calls made, they “indicate a wider systemic problem”.

The firm launched an appeal against the £90,000 fine issued in February last year.

Managing director Andrew Hogarth and operations manager Simon Roberts appeared before Judge Peter Lane at a first-tier tribunal earlier this year as part of the appeal.

The pair attempted to argue their offences should be considered on the lowest levels of severity because confirmed breaches of the code made up less than 0.001 per cent and that the number of complaints were reducing over time.

In his decision released last month, Judge Lane criticised the pair for being “grossly inconsistent” and said the firm had wrongly attempted to blame others, when they knew or “at best – was reckless” as to whether it was complying with the industry code of conduct.

The company was also criticised for providing “entirely inaccurate” information in claiming its 2015 turnover was £1.8 million when in fact it was almost double.

The firm had a turnover for 2014 of £3.8 million with a profit of almost £300,000 and a turnover of £3.1 million for 2015 with an operating loss of £820,779.

The firm had been given permission to pay the £90,000 fine in three instalments to allow them to continue to trade.

A statement by the Claims Management Regulation service said: "As a result of an investigation commenced on 8 July 2015, the Claims Management Regulator has cancelled Stanley Financial Holdings Limited’s (formerly Complete Claim Solutions Ltd) authorisation to provide claims management services under the Compensation Act 2006 with effect from 11 August 2016.

"The cancellation means that Stanley Financial Holdings Limited may no longer carry out any claims management services."