food poisoning claims’ against all-inclusive hotels in Spain’s Balearic Islands.
They say the cases were filed through 77 law firms and there will now be an in-depth look to see which ones – if any – might have been fraudulent.
Suspicions have been growing that some could be false since several high profile court cases in the UK have made headline news.
News reports coming out of Spain this evening says it’s now clear that some of the hotels involved have satisfactorily passed all health inspections – alongside reports that not all of the holidaymakers who made a claim actually visited a doctor.
Nevertheless, British law at the time only required tourists complaining of a tummy bug to present a receipt for some sort of medicine from a chemist.
It’s reported that most of the 800 Brits had spent their holidays in hotels in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.
It’s claimed that some claimants have been targeted by so-called “claim farmers” whose touts often stopped them in the street with promises of big pay-outs.
Others are believed to have been recruited via websites.
Spanish police today released an update about their ongoing investigation, saying the claims made by the British tourists “caused significant economic damage to the sector”.
“The investigations carried out by the National Police have allowed the identification of about 800 British tourists supposedly affected by food poisoning in establishments of the Balearic Islands,” said a spokesman.
“They filed complaints through 77 law firms that would have orchestrated a possible criminal network based on false claims that have caused significant economic damage to the Spanish and Balearic tourism sector.”
“These actions are part of the so-called “HOOK” operation, directed by the Court of Instruction number 2 of Palma de Mallorca, which is investigating the commission of a possible mass fraud scam for fraudulent claims of alleged gastric problems of English tourists who travelled to our country through tour operators on an all-inclusive basis.”
“These alleged intoxications occur despite the fact that Balearic hotels have passed all health inspections satisfactorily, including some carried out by the English tour operators themselves who then proceed to handle the claim.”
The police investigation began as a result of complaints from hoteliers duped out of millions by the false food poisoning claims.
From January 2016 until the end of summer, a volume of claims amounting to around £4 million pounds has been received in the Balearic Islands, an increase of up to 700% compared to the volume of previous years.
Fraudulent claims are also known to have in the Canaries and in the area of Levante.
Police have welcomed the recent court case in the UK when a Liverpool couple were convicted of making a false claim following holiday in Mallorca and received a prison sentence.
They say this has acted as a deterrent and a considerable number of the food poisoning claims which had been pending have now been withdrawn in the UK.
Police believe the British tourists involved in these are frightened about being taken to court.
However, further prosecutions are still likely, they said.
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