Brits 'facing Spanish holiday ban over fake food poisoning claims'

Brits are facing a Spanish holiday ban on all-inclusive hotel deals after reports of fake food poisoning claims.

Bogus gastroenteritis claims are said to have soared by 700% in the past year.

Hotel owners say they have been fleeced out of £42 million in the past 18 months, according to the Daily Mirror.

And some claims are being put in as long as two years after the holiday took place.

Each payout reportedly costs hotel bosses up to £5,000 a time - and "victims" only need a pharmacist's receipt for food poisoning medication to put in a claim.

One hotelier told the newspaper he was left £25,000 out of pocket by a bogus claim made by one family.

He said: "It's a scandal. Strangely they were the only ones who got sick, despite the hotel being practically full."

Some hotels want to ban Brits from all-inclusive deals. Credit: PA

While it is unclear how much food poisoning costs the tourist industry, UK travel regulator Abta said scams were on the rise.

Dubbed the "new PPI claims", they have called on the Government to crack down on the scam.

A statement on the Abta website said: "Abta members are reporting significantly increased volumes of gastric illness claims.

"They are seeing consumers bringing claims where they have not reported illness in resort, or sought medical treatment locally (beyond possibly visiting a pharmacy), or visited their GP on return to the UK.

"The first notification a tour operator may receive of a claim is when they receive a letter from a firm of solicitors in the UK, sometimes a couple of years after the holiday took place.

"Abta is aware of aggressive marketing by claims management companies, including targeting of holidaymakers in local resorts, which is likely to be contributing to the rise in numbers."

Tourists in Torremolinos on the Costa Del Sol. Credit: PA

The Costa Del Sol, Costa Blanca, Costa Dorada and Benidorm have reportedly seen the highest number of scams.

The Hotel Business Association of Majorca wants a blanket ban on all-inclusive visitors to the island unless the problem is tackled.

Hotel owners in Benidorm are said to have asked chemists not to sell stomach upset medicines to Brits unless they have a prescription.

And some hotels on the Canary Islands are reportedly planning to ask guests to sign disclaimer forms at the end of their stay confirming they did not get food poisoning.

The Foreign Office has warned British holidaymakers they face legal action if they are found to have made a false claim.