A couple who demanded thousands of pounds in compensation after they caught food poisoning on holiday were caught after posting poolside selfies online.
Chelsea Devine, 21, and Jamie Melling, 22, from Liverpool, claimed they were ill for weeks after eating and drinking during their ten day all-inclusive trip to Benidorm in Spain.Grenfell fraudster claimed £32,000 in donations after lying he saw victims 'burning'
But a judge found them ‘fundamentally dishonest’ and ordered them to pay holiday operator Tui £15,000 – a record amount for costs awarded against a fraudulent claim of holiday sickness.
Liverpool County Court heard how the pair were caught out after posting photos of their holiday at the Levante Beach Apartments in September 2015 on Facebook.
The pictures showed them smiling and happy in their room and swimming in the pool.
But in May 2016, they submitted identical claims, each demanding £2,500 in compensation.
Bogus claims for holiday sickness compensation have rocketed since the Government clamped down on fraudulent accident whiplash claims.
There have been widespread fears that payouts for fake holiday bug claims will increase prices for honest tourists.
The judge, Recorder Sally Hatfield QC, said of Devine and Melling: ‘I find that they have not proved that they were ill.
‘I cannot accept that they would upload photographs of themselves as a happy couple if the holiday was as they claim.
‘The statements are identical. They say that they did not collude, but it is clear the statements were not written by them. There are inaccuracies in them.
‘They did not complain [at the time] despite it being easy to do so. They did not complain when they came home. Have the claimants proved that they were ill?
‘I do not accept that they did not raise the fact of their alleged illness with the hotel because they were young and inexperienced.
‘They were young, but they were in contact with their parents, who apparently gave them no advice. I find that there is no reason why they did not complain.
‘I do not attribute any illness to the unsatisfactory food. There is no evidence of contamination. I accept the evidence of the hotel, and there is no evidence of any outbreak.’Baby seal dies after being 'harassed back into sea' by humans
The couple have been ordered to pay the money by this coming Friday.
Tui said: ‘It’s disappointing we have had to go this far to defend our industry and hotel partners, as well as protect honest holidaymakers.
‘The court has found they brought claims that are fundamentally dishonest and have been ordered to pay our costs.
‘This goes to highlight the penalty you can face if you bring an exaggerated or fraudulent holiday sickness claim.’
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