A Kettering family have spoken of their horror after a holiday was ruined by illness when somebody defecated in a swimming pool.
Rosanna Cowley, 27, went to the Greek island of Zante in August with her partner and children Joshua and Ellie.
But their all-inclusive break at Marelen Hotel was ruined after they were struck down by severe gastric illness after they swam in a pool with faeces in.
They have still not fully recovered – and they are now taking legal action against tour operator Thomas Cook.
Rosanna said: “It was hideous. We had all swam in that pool.
“As soon as I started feeling unwell I just knew it was bad.
“And then one by one we all came down with it.”
The Cowleys and 13 other people were struck down by gastric illness caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, while holidaying at the hotel this summer.
She added: “When I got back to the UK I went to see my doctor and was soon told I had Cryptosporidium.
“We were visited by environmental health officers and the whole thing was really distressing, especially for Ellie who is too young to understand what was going on.
“When you pay to go on holiday with a company like Thomas Cook, you do not expect to have to worry about basic hygiene standards.
“After what we have been through I would hate to think of anyone else suffering in the same way.”
Rosanna said she watched as staff responded to faecal matter in the pool, fishing the stool out of the water while seemingly oblivious guests swam nearby.
Staff are then said to have treated the water, again while people swam nearby.
They have since told their legal team that they were not aware of the pool being drained for deep cleaning.
Expert international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, acting on behalf of the distressed holidaymakers, has received reports from other guests who say they witnessed the side of the pool being scrubbed with a nail brush which was then rinsed in the pool water.
Jatinder Paul, associate solicitor and expert international personal injury lawyer for Irwin Mitchell, said: “Cryptosporidium can have serious health implications for those affected and in our work we have seen first-hand the long-term issues that it can cause, from which some victims may never fully recover.
“It is deeply concerning to have had this number of people fall ill at the same hotel at the same time – especially children – the youngest of which was just one year old.
“We would encourage anyone who has stayed at Marelen Hotel and has since experienced gastric symptoms, to see their GP at the earliest available opportunity. “We would also like to speak with them as they may be able to help our investigations.
“There also needs to be a clear understanding by Thomas Cook as to why this has happened and reassurances that steps are being taken to try and prevent the same thing happening again.”
A spokesman for Thomas Cook said it will investigate throroughly.
The spokesman said: “We know how important holidays are and we work hard to make sure that all of our customers enjoy their time away, so we were concerned to hear of this unusual case.
“When we receive information directly on these reports we will investigate thoroughly.”