Judge throws out this cou­ple’s hol­i­day bug claim – then re­ports them to the po­lice

The Mail on Sunday - - Talk Of The Town - By Ben Ellery

A H O L I D AY M A K E R w h o launched a bo­gus £2,500 claim for food poi­son­ing has been re­ferred to po­lice by the judge who threw out his spu­ri­ous case.

In what’s be­lieved to be a first, deputy district judge John Josephs asked of­fi­cers to i nves­ti­gate whether Tom Oakey’s dis­hon­est al­le­ga­tions about a five-star Bul­gar­ian ho­tel con­sti­tutes a crime.

The sheet metal worker had claimed that bad food and poor hy­giene at the re­sort had left him so ill with di­ar­rhoea and ab­domi- nal cramps that he had been un­able to leave his room for two days.

But his claim col­lapsed when in­ves­ti­ga­tors found Face­book pic­tures of the 30- year- old and his girl­friend Claire Fursey, 31, sip­ping cock­tails and din­ing at restau­rants when he claimed he had been un­well.

The cou­ple, from Northamp­ton, had also posted pos­i­tive mes­sages about their break in July 2015. One read: ‘It’s been an amaz­ing two weeks. Bul­garia, it’s been a plea­sure.’

Oakey, who en­gaged a ‘no win, no fee’ firm to bring his case, also claimed that he had to post­pone a boat trip, but snaps on Fursey’s Face­book page showed the pair en­joy­ing a ‘sun­set cruise’ the day af­ter he said he had be­come ill at Ho­tel He­lena Park in Sunny Beach.

As well as be­ing re­ferred to po­lice, Oakey was or­dered by Northamp­ton County Court to pay hol­i­day op­er­a­tor Tui al­most £9,000 in costs.

An­drew Flintham, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Tui, said: ‘Not only has Mr Oakey been found to be fun­da­men­tally dis­hon­est and or­dered to pay our costs but, in a new move, the court has also re­ferred the mat­ter to po­lice for them to make any in­quiries about any crim­i­nal of­fences which may have been com­mit­ted.

‘We hope that this sends out a clear mes­sage to any­one else con­sid­er­ing mak­ing fraud­u­lent sick­ness claims.’

The num­ber of hol­i­day sick­ness claims has soared by 434 per cent since 2016, a rise hol­i­day firms blame on ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers.

An ABTA spokesman said the surge in claims had ‘cost the travel in­dus­try mil­lions of pounds, as well as do­ing great harm to the rep­u­ta­tion of all Bri­tish hol­i­day­mak­ers’.

CAUGHT OUT: The cou­ple en­joy­ing ice creams dur­ing their Bul­gar­ian break

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