A St Austell food delivery driver’s fake dog bite claim landed him with a bill for £5,000.

Sean Dore delivered a takeaway meal to a farmhouse near Bodelva in July 2021, and claimed six-year-old Labrador Marley bit his arm and scratched the paintwork on his car.

The following day, Mr Dore, 37, of Trewoon, presented Marley’s owners with a quote for £185 for scratches on his car to be repaired and subsequently filed a claim for injury worth up to £3,000.

But home insurer AXA was suspicious, particularly when the family’s insistence that Marley had been friendly and at most bumped into Mr Dore, was backed up by CCTV footage showing Marley greeting the delivery driver enthusiastically, tail wagging.

Medical examinations also found no sign of the “deep scratches” Mr Dore said the dog had inflicted.

Mr Dore attempted to claim that the video footage had been ‘doctored’ but Deputy District Judge Healey, sitting at Plymouth County Court, dismissed his case as “fundamentally dishonest” and ordered Mr Dore to pay Marley’s owners’ legal costs worth £4,788.90.

Damian Rourke, partner at Clyde & Co, the Manchester law firm instructed by AXA, said: “When Sean Dore met Marley, he clearly thought he’d found a cunning way of getting his car repaired for free and earn some quick money.

"But Mr Dore underestimated both Marley’s owners and the power of surveillance technologies. Living in a remote area, Marley’s owners had had CCTV installed to monitor access to their driveway. But it wasn’t just the footage that helped our investigators.

“Other aspects of Mr Dore’s claim didn’t add up including vanishing puncture marks, his failure to seek medical attention and a false claim he’d called the NHS 111 phone number – all hallmarks of a dishonest insurance claim.” 

“This finding of fundamental dishonesty from Mr Dore shows the importance of investigation and expertise in fighting against fraud,” he said.

In their evidence to the court, Marley’s owners described their family pet as “an active, lively and friendly dog, typical of the Labrador breed”. Marley, they said, had no propensity to bite and had been under their control at all times during Mr Dore’s visit.

The hearing took place at Plymouth County Court on Friday, October 13.