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A family who fraudulently claimed their holiday was ruined by food poisoning have been jailed after pictures of the group enjoying themselves were posted online.
Christopher Byng, 38, Barbara Byng, 64, Linda Lane, 36, and Anthony Byng, 66, submitted a false gastric illness claim against Jet2Holidays following an all-inclusive stay in Gran Canaria.
The group had booked the Paradise Lago Taurito & Waterpark in November 2016 and upon return, said the two children they were travelling with fell ill, TeessideLive reports.
Members of the family noted various symptoms including stomach cramps, sickness, diarrhoea, headaches and hot and cold sweats, and said these were caused by food poisoning.
A claim against Jet2Holidays was launched and during investigations, the company and their law firm, Horwich Farrelly, discovered the claims were fabricated.
Evidence included a number of social media posts the family shared online which feature the family enjoying themselves in the resort’s pool and bar.
In an end of holiday questionnaire, despite claiming the family fell ill, the group answered "very likely" when asked if they’d book with Jet2 again.
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Appearing at Teesside Crown Court on Friday February 26, the family pleaded guilty to contempt of court.
Christopher, Barbara and Anthony Byng were all jailed for four months and Lane received a suspended sentence.
The family must also pay a £20,000 interim payment in legal costs by March 26, as Judge Mark Gargan noted the claims were "not merely a case of exaggeration" but of "complete invention".
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He also said that “false claims for holiday sickness are all too prevalent", and said the ruling against the family sent a "stark message" to fraudsters.
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."
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