Couple jailed after faking holiday sickness

Paul Roberts and Deborah Briton claimed nearly £20,000 from Thomas Cook

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Holiday fraud court case

A couple has been jailed after faking food poisoning on a holiday to Mallorca and claiming almost £20,000 from Thomas Cook.

SEE ALSO: Thomas Cook claims victory in battle against fake holiday sickness claims

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Paul Roberts and Deborah Briton, from Wallasey, Wirral, were branded "greedy" by the judge at Liverpool Crown Court.

The pair claimed £19,958 after saying they fell ill on holidays to the Spanish island in 2015 and 2016, the BBC reports.

Roberts and Briton had stayed at the Globales América resort with their children and said they suffered "severe gastric illness" on both holidays.

But Thomas Cook, which has received an increasing number of bogus claims, investigated the case and found Facebook posts from the couple saying they were "safely home after two weeks of sun, laughter and fun" in 2015 and had a "fantastic holiday" in 2016.

Judge David Aubrey QC sentenced Roberts to 15 months in prison and Briton to nine months.

He said the claims were an "utter sham".

"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."

Adding that the claims must have required planning, he said: "Why? Pure greed. Seeking to get something for nothing."

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook told the Independent: "The sentence handed down today demonstrates how serious the issue of fraudulent illness claims has become.

"We hope it sends a clear message to holidaymakers across the UK that the consequences for lying about their experience abroad could be very serious."

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