CCTV shows moment West Country woman faked injury in false compensation claim


A woman staged an ‘accident’ at a West Country Food Warehouse store in a failed attempt to claim thousands of pounds in compensation. Teresa Birch made a false statement which claimed her foot had got caught in the loop handle on a sack at the Paignton store.

She attempted to claim thousands of pounds in compensation. However, CCTV footage caught the truth of what really happened. The footage shows the incident was not genuine as she slowly falls to the floor and then pretends that she has been hurt.

Teresa Birch pleaded guilty to contempt of court in front of His Honour Judge Mitchell, sitting as a judge of the High Court, at Plymouth District Registry. This came as a result of proceedings initiated by Iceland Foods following Birch’s attempt to make a claim for compensation from Iceland after an incident at The Food Warehouse store in Paignton on January 2, 2023.

His Honour Judge Mitchell gave Birch a four week custodial sentence, suspended for twelve months. She was also ordered to pay Iceland’s costs, which are in excess of £17,000, as DevonLive reports.

Following the incident on 2 January 2023, Birch engaged solicitors who submitted a Claims Notification Form on February 21, 2023, seeking compensation of up to £10,000 for alleged injuries to Miss Birch’s right knee and left hand. Iceland denied liability and disclosed the CCTV footage to her solicitors, who promptly ceased acting on her behalf.

Teresa Birch made a false statement which claimed her foot had got caught in the loop handle on a sack at the Devon store.
Teresa Birch made a false statement which claimed her foot had got caught in the loop handle on a sack at the Devon store. -Credit:Iceland

CCTV footage of the incident makes it crystal clear that the “accident” was planned and staged by Birch for the purpose of making a personal injury claim. Birch had made or caused to be made a false statement of truth in the Claim Notification Form which asserted that “her foot caught in the loop handle on the sack” with the implication this was an accident, when in fact the incident was not genuine and was staged.

Iceland applied for, and was granted, permission to commence proceedings for contempt of court by Her Honour Judge Emma Kelly at the High Court in London on November 14, 2023.

Teresa Birch made a false statement which claimed her foot had got caught in the loop handle on the sack at the Devon store.
Teresa Birch made a false statement which claimed her foot had got caught in the loop handle on the sack at the Devon store. -Credit:Iceland

Following the hearing, Iceland Foods' legal director Duncan Vaughan said: “We and other retailers are sadly often faced with fraudulent or exaggerated claims which can be difficult to defend. In this instance we had strong evidence in the CCTV footage, which meant that there was no other reasonable explanation for the defendant’s actions other than deliberately staging an “accident” in order to make a claim against us.”

Iceland chief executive officer Tarsem Dhaliwal added: “Like shoplifting, the making of fraudulent injury claims adds to the stress and costs of doing business and ultimately makes shopping more expensive for everyone. We are determined to fight this in the interests of our colleagues, customers and society as a whole. Anyone seeing Iceland as a soft touch should be in no doubt that we will do our utmost to defeat fraudsters and will not hesitate to bring them before the courts for punishment.”