A judge has called in police after rejecting a holidaymaker’s fake £2,500 claim for food poisoning.
Deputy district judge John Josephs asked officers to investigate whether Tom Oakey’s dishonest allegations about a five-star Bulgarian hotel constitutes a crime.
As well as being referred to police, Oakey was ordered by Northampton County Court to pay Tui almost £9,000 in costs.
The sheet metal worker had claimed that bad food and poor hygiene at the resort had left him so ill with diarrhoea and abdominal cramps that he had been unable to leave his room for two days.
But his claim collapsed when investigators found Facebook pictures of the 30-year-old and his girlfriend Claire Fursey, 31, sipping cocktails and dining at restaurants when he claimed he had been unwell, Mail Online reported.
The couple, from Northampton, had also posted positive messages about their break in July 2015. One read: ‘It’s been an amazing two weeks. Bulgaria, it’s been a pleasure.’
Oakey, who engaged a ‘no win, no fee’ firm to bring his case, also claimed that he had to postpone a boat trip. But pictures on Fursey’s Facebook page showed the pair enjoying a ‘sunset cruise’ the day after he said he had become ill at Hotel Helena Park in Sunny Beach.
Tui UK managing director Andrew Flintham said: “Not only has Mr Oakey been found to be fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay our costs but, in a new move, the court has also referred the matter to police for them to make any inquiries about any criminal offences which may have been committed.
“We hope that this sends out a clear message to anyone else considering making fraudulent sickness claims.”
The number of holiday sickness claims has soared by 434% since 2016, a rise holiday firms blame on ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers.
An Abta spokesman said the surge in claims had “cost the travel industry millions of pounds, as well as doing great harm to the reputation of all British holidaymakers”.
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