Family who made up sickness claims caught after posting snaps

Jimmy Nsubuga
Linda Lane, 36, posted pics of the trip on Facebook. (Facebook)
Linda Lane, 36, posted pics of the trip on Facebook. (Facebook)

A family who made up claims they were sick on holiday to get compensation were caught after posting pictures of their trip on Facebook.

Christopher Byng, 38, Barbara Byng, 64, Linda Lane, 36, and Anthony Byng, 66, all from Middlesbrough, were convicted of contempt of court at Teesside Combined Court on Friday.

They admitted to submitting false gastric illness claims, which could have resulted in them getting a pay-out of tens of thousands of pounds from Jet2 Holidays.

The group claimed they, and the two children they were travelling with, had all suffered from various symptoms, including stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea as a result of food poisoning on an all-inclusive holiday at the Paradise Lago Taurito and Waterpark, Gran Canaria in November 2016.

They then issued court proceedings, which the tour operator defended.

During investigations, evidence emerged showing their claims were not true, including several social media posts from the family, including images and video footage of them enjoying themselves on holiday despite claiming to be ill.

The photos included the group using a waterslide, swimming in the pool and drinking in the bar.

They did not mention any illness despite claiming to have suffered from severe symptoms at the time.

Christopher Byng also answered in a survey sent by Jet2 Holidays he was “very satisfied” with the choice, cleanliness and quality of meals the hotel offered.

He was also asked if anyone had been unwell on the holiday, but he chose not to answer.

Byng added he was ‘very likely’ to book with Jet2holidays again in the next 12 months.

Christopher, Barbara and Anthony Byng all received four-month custodial sentences, with Linda receiving a suspended sentence.

They were also ordered to pay Jet2 Holidays’ legal costs.

During sentencing, Judge Mark Gargan said “false claims for holiday sickness are all too prevalent.”

He added these claims were “not merely a case of exaggeration” and were a “complete invention”.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2holidays, said: “We have led the way when it comes to tackling the issue of fake sickness claims, and we continue to do so. Issuing a false claim for compensation is fraud, plain and simple, and we have been at pains to warn people that there are serious consequences if they choose to do so.

“Today’s ruling is the latest illustration of that, and it sends out a very stark message. We will not hesitate to take action against fraudsters, and the courts will not hesitate to punish them.”