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And the fraud bill for the UK - £73 billion

The scale of fraud in Britain has been revealed in shocking new figures that put the annual bill at £73billion - about £1,100 for every person in the country.

The figures from National Fraud Authority are huge increase on previous estimates of £38bn last year and £13bn back in 2006.

But the Authority says the figures are not comparable because they've changed the ways and areas in which they look for fraud.

The biggest loser was the private sector, stung for £45.5bn, followed by the public sector which lost £20bn. Fraud against individuals came to just over £6 billion and charities lost more than £1bn.

In the private sector, the biggest losers were shops and wholesale traders, being hit for £15bn.

Next was manufacturing, with a £7.4bn fraud bill, then financial services. The tally in this sector is made of up £2.1bn in insurance fraud, £1bn mortgage fraud, £341million plastic card fraud and smaller amounts in online banking, cheque and telephone banking fraud.

In the public sector the biggest victim was the tax system, losing £14billion. This figures includes loses through tax evasion, the so-called "hidden economy" and deliberate criminal attacks using false identities to illegally claim VAT rebates.

After the taxman, the biggest loser in the public sector was central government, down £2.5bn. The biggest slice, £1.4bn, was lost to procurement fraud - crooks who supposedly supply the government with goods or services.

Local government lost £2.2bn, mainly to housing tenancy cheats (£900million), procurement fraud (£890million), payroll fraud (£153million) and council tax fraud (£131million).

Benefits cheats got away with £1.6bn.

Other frauds include telecoms frauds such as using a false identity to get a phone contract - £972million, television licence fee evasion - £202million, transport fare evasion - £210million, vehicle excise duty evasion - £40million.

Fraud against individuals mainly consists of mass marketing scams such as junkmail or spam, which notched up £3.5bn.

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