Holidaymakers planning a trip to Spain are being warned in advance about the consequences of making a false claim for sickness.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has included the warning in its advice checklist for people travelling to the country. The list of dangers also includes the threat of terrorism and street crime.

It is the first time the government has made such a warning, and comes on the back of reports of holidaymakers being encouraged to submit a claim for personal injury if they have gastric illness.

The notice is a further sign of rising tensions in government about the claims, as law firms and claims management companies come under closer scrutiny from authorities and regulators.

The FCO notice states: ‘You should only consider pursuing a complaint or claim if you have genuinely suffered from injury or illness. If you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or Spain.’

Holidaymakers are urged to get more information about the action they can take through the Citizens Advice website.

Holiday sickness claims have developed into a new battleground in recent months, with some of the biggest consumer law firms in the country investing in the sector and the number of claims increasing.

In response, travel bosses have reacted with alarm, championing their own settlement scheme and urging regulators to clamp down on any element of fraud within the claims.

The Ministry of Justice’s Claims Management Regulator today confirmed it met with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) last month to ‘better understand the challenges’ in relation to this issue.

The regulator has also discussed the claims increase with tour operators, Spanish hotel representatives and the Spanish police. It is working with the SRA to ‘share intelligence’.

The CMR added: ‘We are investigating the conduct of regulated CMCs and unauthorised entities in relation to a surge in holiday sickness claims. This includes the regulatory action needed to deal quickly and effectively with any misconduct by either regulated CMCs, lawyers, or those who are simply operating completely illegally.’