A Tui customer has been ordered to pay nearly £20,000 to the operator after being found guilty of fundamental dishonesty for claiming to be ill while on holiday.

Justin Miller, of Penarth in Wales went to Cape Verde with his father, brother and brother’s girlfriend for two weeks on May 31 2016, staying all-inclusive at the Riu Toureg hotel.

The 40-year-old did not report any issues or illness at the time. Tui said the first knowledge that it or the hotel had the alleged sickness was receipt of the Letter of Claim around six months after Miller returned home.

Miller claimed there was a poor standard of hygiene at the hotel and that food was not properly cooked. His claim was supported by medical evidence from a Doctor Lieberman and a claim by his father, Steve Coombe.

Tui looked at Miller’s Facebook page and found posts during the course of the holiday which showed him eating, drinking and socialising. This evidence was used by Tui in court.

“These were not the posts of a man who was ill and his holiday ruined,” the operator said. “He positively commented on the quality of the food, the beach and numerous outings with his dad and brother.”

Tui also pointed out other inconsistencies in his claim – such as the period of illness, Tui’s reporting of the illness, the severity of the symptoms and the cause of the illness.

Cardiff County Court found Miller to be fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay £19,025.

Tui’s UK and Ireland managing director Andrew Flintham said: “As the UK’s leading tour operator we’ve continued to make a stand and do all that we can to put a stop to fake sickness cases. Mr Miller’s case, having been found fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay a hefty fee, is another lesson to anyone thinking about submitting a fraudulent claim.

“We hope that this sends out a clear message to anyone else considering making a fake sickness claim. We will simply not pay compensation claims of this nature and we will bring all similar cases to a court hearing. Our fight back against this type of activity helps us to protect genuine holidaymakers and we will continue to do all that is necessary to defend our industry and hotel partners.”

Tui had seen a 1400% rise in sickness claims in the two years up to 2017, a larger rise than the 500% increase in claims that Abta reported in the industry. The steep rise, fuelled by false sickness claims – many of which that have been taken to court since – prompted Travel Weekly to launch its Fight Fake Claims campaign for a concerted industry-wide approach in tackling the issue.