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Family from Middlesbrough who posted photos showing them enjoying their holiday also ordered to pay legal costs.

Horwich Farrelly has saved Jet2holidays tens of thousands of pounds after successfully defending a series of false gastric illness claims from a Middlesbrough family. 

The fraudsters were sentenced to four months in prison after trying to win false compensation claims for food poisoning. They have also been ordered to pay legal costs.

Christopher Byng (38), Barbara Byng (64), Linda Lane (36) and Anthony Byng (66), were convicted of contempt of court at Teeside Combined Court on Friday 26 February after admitting to submitting false gastric illness claims.

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

During their investigations however, Horwich Farrelly – acting for Jet2holidays – discovered evidence that showed the claims were all fabricated.

The evidence included a number social media posts, including photographs and video footage, in which no mention or sign of any illness was made, despite the severe symptoms they claimed to have been suffering at the time. This included the family using the waterslide, swimming in the pool and drinking in the bar.

Further, Jet2holidays sent a marketing survey in relation to the holiday on their return that Christopher Byng completed. When asked how satisfied he was with the holiday he stated he was, “Very satisfied,” with the choice, cleanliness and quality of meals the hotel offered, despite the allegations he subsequently made.

He was also specifically asked whether anyone had been unwell on the holiday but he chose not to answer this. However, his answer to the question ‘Thinking about the future, how likely are you to book with Jet2/Jet2 Holidays again in the next 12 months?’ he responded ‘Very likely’. This was despite alleging his, “holiday was ruined as a result of the illness.”

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2holidays, said: 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. [The] 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.

David Scott, Partner at Horwich Farrelly, said: Despite successfully defending thousands of fraudulent holiday sickness claims, they remain an issue for travel companies. We welcome the Judge’s verdict, which sends out a strong message that if you are caught presenting a dishonest claim, there are severe consequences.