A DOCTOR has lost his case to sue West Yorkshire Police for £5million after a judge ruled he was lawfully arrested.

Dr Abdul Rashid, who was employed at Thornton Medical Centre, was arrested on March 7, 2012, and had set out to challenge the force on his alleged wrongful arrest, trespass and false imprisonment.

However, Recorder Ben Nolan QC brought Dr Rashid's alleged links to an organised crime group to light during the judgement after revealing officers investigated several payments to a bank account controlled by members of a cash for crash ring.

Dr Rashid was arrested as part of Operation Thatcham, which centred on Advanced Claims, also known as Concept Accident Management of Huddersfield, and led to jail sentences following three separate trials involving 48 defendants at Leeds Crown Court in 2014.

The Bradford doctor was taken into custody as part of the operation's third phase, but was never charged with an offence.

Recorder Nolan QC told Bradford Combined Court Centre that part of the investigation into Dr Rashid before he was arrested focussed on an "appointments diary" found in the car of a gang member believed to be running the cash for crash racket.

The diary showed back to back 10 minute appointments for potential claimants to be examined by Dr Rashid, mostly in rooms at budget hotels booked by Advanced Claims.

Investigations found he was charging £470 for an examination and on some days he was examining 50 patients a day.

When police sought expert advice about their findings, another doctor said examinations of claimants should take between 20 and 30 minutes it should cost patients between £250 and £300.

Financial investigations were also carried out and the Kirklees Divisional Confiscation unit of the West Yorkshire Police came into possession of a "suspicious activity report" showing "numerous suspicious accounts/transactions."

The transactions amounted to thousands of pounds paid on numerous dates in 2010 and 2011 to Concept Accident Management by Dr Rashid.

Recorder Nolan QC said: "Mr Pennock (Dr Rashid's barrister) sought to put an innocent explanation for the various items identified in the report but of course I have to consider the information which was the suspicious activity without explanation, innocent or otherwise.

"In short a picture of large sums of money always in round figures being paid on random dates, on regular occasions, into a bank account controlled by an OCG."

A further two payments were paid to N.K. Business Consultants - another account run by the OCG - by Dr Rashid, something which was noted as "intensely suspicious" by the enquiry team because the payments were made after the first phase of arrests.

Although the judge said in his judgement the decision to arrest Dr Rashid was a decision made by a team of six detectives who met regularly to discuss evidence, Dr Rashid's legal team felt it was "the doing of one individual namely DC Mark Lunn" and he was "allowed to hi-jack the investigation for his own ends."

The court heard that during the pre-arrest part of the investigation, DC Lunn, the officer in charge of Operation Thatcham, had been attempting to secure work as a private investigator who was willing to act on behalf of insurance companies to investigate potentially fraudulent insurance claims.

However, he did not inform his employer - West Yorkshire Police- and when his superiors found out, he was moved off Operation Thatcham duties and resigned from the force before any disciplinary action was taken.

The judge rejected the "fanciful suggestion" DC Lunn pursued Dr Rashid for his own ends and said the operation was "well-run, closely monitored and a highly competent criminal investigation".

The decision to arrest Dr Rashid was made during a meeting in January 2012 when the Operation Thatcham team met with the Crown Prosecution Service to discuss the case.

The judge added: "Taken together the matters relied upon by the defendant provided ample grounds for reasonable suspicion of the claimant's willing and active complicity in the illegal activities of the OCG in the operation of Advance Claims for the purpose of frauds against motor insurance companies.

"I further find that all the active members of the team who were present at the meeting on January 19, 2012, had an honest and reasonable belief in that complicity and they held that belief up to and indeed beyond the date of Dr Rashid's arrest.

"The includes DC Mark Lunn, the arresting officer and I therefore hold that he held the same honest and reasonable belief when he arrested the claimant.

"I further find that on the date of the arrest and the searches of the claimants various properties there were valid warrants authorising the search of each of those properties and that those warrants had been obtained lawfully and by due process."

Dr Rashid told the Telegraph & Argus he is going to appeal the decision.

He added the diaries found in the back of the car were not his and when he was making payments to Advanced Claims, the company was regulated by the Ministry of Justice.

He said: "Like many other doctors and lawyers, my company was paying money to a legitimate Ministry of Justice regulated approved company to assist in arranging checks for a number of the lawyer-referred clients.

"It was accepted that it was not, and never was, the police case that I have reported on a fraudulent claimant."

On the continued payments to the second account after the first phase of arrests, he added: "I fail to see what is suspicious about paying money into a bank account of a company which I owe money to.

"The company was regulated by the Ministry of Justice and known to the police to be carrying on in their genuine business activities, even after the arrests.

"This was investigated by the General Medical Council over a four-and-a-half year period and I was completely exonerated."