Joint action by the UK travel trade and police, courts and hoteliers in Spain has led to a major a breakthrough in the fight against false sickness claims.

According to TUI UK and Ireland, a major crackdown has led to one law firm dropping more than 1,800 cases against the travel giant.

Managing director Nick Longman said the company met last week with Spanish police to discuss the unprecedented levels of illness claims.

“We fully support the steps they are taking to expose this kind of fraud and to investigate false or exaggerated cases,” he said.

“Through the work we are doing and the awareness we are raising of this type of activity, we’ve already seen one law firm drop more than 1800 cases against us. We remain committed to doing all that we can to put a stop to this activity and therefore protect honest holidaymakers.”

TUI said police were given details of hundreds of cases of suspected fraud and have now delivered the results of their investigation to the Courts of Palma.

“Customers who submitted false or exaggerated claims for food poisoning against hoteliers in Mallorca during the last year can expect criminal action to be taken,” it said.

But the problem isn’t just confined to Spain, according to the Foreign Office.

In recent weeks, the FCO has issued warnings to British holidaymakers in Portugal, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus about the risks of making false claims.

The warnings come after a rise in claims, blamed on claims companies targeting popular resorts in these holiday destinations.

Jet2 Holidays has drafted in undercover detectives to sniff out representatives from claims firms who are reportedly hanging out in resorts trying to persuade holidaymakers to make claims and Thomas Cook said it was also taking action.

Last month ABTA launched a political and consumer campaign to persuade the Government to crack down on bogus holiday sickness claims.

Its ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign also warns holidaymakers of the consequences of making a false claim, which could include a fine.