A BRITISH couple who submitted a fake food poisoning claim after enjoying Thomas Cook holidays in Mallorca have been jailed.
Deborah Briton, aged 53, and her partner Paul Roberts, 43, tried to claim almost £20,000 for the fake gastric illnesses and it would have also cost the holiday firm £28,000 in legal expenses had their claim been successful.
Briton was sentenced to nine months in prison after admitting four counts of fraud in the private prosecution, brought by holiday company Thomas Cook.
Roberts was sentenced to 15 months after admitting the same offences.
Prosecutor Sam Brown said the couple had holidayed at the Globales America hotel in Mallorca with their two children in 2015 and 2016.
But Liverpool Crown Court heard that the were caught out after posting on social media that they were ‘Safely home after two weeks of sun, laughter, fun and tears. Met up with all our lovely holiday friends who made our holiday fab.
Sentencing, Judge David Aubrey QC said their claims had been a “complete and utter sham”.
He said: “They were bogus from start to finish, you were both asserting on your behalfs and on behalf of your two children that on two separate holidays you had suffered illness.
“They were totally and utterly fake.”
He said the claims must have required planning and premeditation.
“Why? Pure greed. Seeking to get something for nothing.”
The judge also warned that any others bringing similar false claims in the future must expect to also face a jail term.
A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “The sentences handed down today demonstrates how serious the issue of fraudulent illness claims has become.
“This is a particularly sobering case but reflects what is going on across the UK travel industry, so we had to take a stand to protect our holidays and our customers from the minority who cheat the system.”