A British grandmother and her daughter have reportedly been detained by Spanish police on suspicion of masterminding a holiday sickness scam.
Debbie Cameron, 59, and her daughter, Laura Joyce, 28, were arrested at their villa in the suburb of Bendinat on Majorca this week.
They are suspected of being ringleaders of a scam using touts at hotels to entice British tourists into faking symptoms of gastric illness to get compensation, legal sources claimed in local media reports.
Mrs Cameron has denied wrongdoing, saying that she was arrested as a result of confusion. Family members said that she had been released, while her daughter remained in custody, ahead of a court appearance.
Gary Grimstead, 60, her brother, who lives in Hornchurch, Essex, told The Daily Telegraph: “Debbie says 100% she hasn’t done anything wrong and it’s all a confusion. She’s back at home and is OK. They arrested her and then let her go.
“They [the police] have given her passport back and apologised. But my niece is still in custody and all my sister wants to do is get her daughter out. It’s total confusion. All we are now concerned about is Laura. She is due [to give birth] next month.”
Five other people are also said to have been detained.
Their arrest comes amid a clampdown by authorities on sickness scams on the holiday island, which is visited by more than 2.5 million British tourists a year.
Cehat, the Spanish hotel and apartment trade body, estimates that Britons have cost them €100 million in food poisoning claims over the past three years.
Hotels hired private detectives to build up dossiers of allegedly fake scams.
Hundreds of claims were investigated by authorities in Majorca after police were handed a dossier by lawyers acting for the Mac Hotels group, suggesting that its losses alone could be as high as £4 million, based upon 273 suspect claims from nearly 800 holidaymakers.
Mrs Cameron has been involved in British expat life on Majorca for 30 years, according to reports.
The daughter of a wealthy businessman, she has set herself up as a lifestyle coach.
Mrs Joyce describes herself as a dancer, part-time model and actress.
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