Travel firms hire investigators to pose as guests to halt dodgy poisoning claims

Travel firms have hired poolside “spies” to probe bogus sickness claims by British holidaymakers.

Investigators are posing as tourists and mingling with other guests as an “epidemic” of fake food poisoning cases costs the industry £200million a year.

It follows two legal wins by Thomas Cook in which a couple were jailed and a dad was branded “fundamentally dishonest”.

Cheating Paul Roberts and Deborah Briton, of Wallasey, Wirral, were locked up for a total of 24 months for a phoney £20,000 claim.

And ex-security firm boss Adam Caldwell, of Stockport, Gtr Manchester, had a £1,500 claim dismissed by a county court judge who said there were “inconsistencies” in his evidence.

Last night lawyer Sarah Hill, who dealt with both cases and is investigating claims against four big firms, said: “It’s an epidemic.”

She revealed tour operators are now sending private eyes abroad to gather evidence and monitor compo firms urging people to claim cash.

And Ms Hill, of specialist law firm BLM, said investigators scan social media, questionnaires, TripAdvisor reviews and medical reports for clues.

Yesterday it emerged Spanish cops are probing 273 claims lodged by 77 law firms, involving a total of 797 Britons, against hotels in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.

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