Families in north Kent and Bexley have launched legal action after saying they became ill while visiting at the Butlins Bognor Regis resort.

Specialist lawyers from Irvin Mitchell are now representing the families after their breaks turned into "holidays from hell".

Butlins’ parent company Bourne Leisure Ltd has so far denied responsibility and now court proceedings have commenced on the back of the an outbreak of illness at the resort between May and July 2011.

Jayne Smith, 39, of Attlee Drive, Dartford, and her husband Richard, 52, went to the resort with their children in June 2011.

Mrs Smith told News Shopper: "We paid well over £1000 for the week long trip and my husband and daughter got a really bad bug.

"None of the staff would tell us what was going on and they were all going around in masks.

"I have never seen so many people cleaning.

"We saw people in whitesuits around the resort, it looked like something out of Ghostbusters."

Mrs Smith said a blood test at the doctors confirmed they had norovirus.

Issues at the resort seen by holidaymakers include undercooked food being served, food being left uncovered, management staff being rude and forcing ill guests to leave early, pigeons were on occasion spotted on table, sewage smells around parts of the resort and the swimming pool being cloudy with slime around the edges.

Jane and Roy Palmer of Carrington Road, Dartford visited the resort in May 2011 and became ill.

Mrs Palmer, 50, said: "I noticed the same meal served twice and I don't think it was warmed up properly.

"I read about loads of people getting ill in the national papers and I knew I suffered from the same thing."

Rebecca and Simon Dunn, of Burns Avenue, Sidcup went to the resort with son Taylor who was four in 2011.

Mrs Dunn, 29, said: "The day after we arrived we started to notice people projectile vomiting all over the resort.

"We paid £1500 and saw people in white coats taking things from the hotel away in clear plastic bags, it looked like a murder scene.

"They should have closed the resort but shockingly we saw new people checking in when we left.

"It has taken all these years for anything to be done and it's just disgusting."

Elizabeth Tetzner, from Irwin Mitchell, said: "Bourne Leisure Ltd has denied liability and as such our clients have been left with no other option than to issue court proceedings as they seek justice for their ruined holidays.

"We have now commenced formal legal proceedings."

A spokesman for Butlins added: "We will robustly defend this speculative action raised at the High Court in Birmingham.

"We operate our resorts to the highest health and safety standards and work closely with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure that our guests’ safety takes priority."