Holidaymakers take legal action after 'luxury' Cape Verde trip leaves hundreds with bacterial illness

Holidaymakers said they felt like their food was old, mouldy and made them ill. (Reach)

More than 500 British holidaymakers have sought legal action after being struck down with illness while on a "luxury" trip to Cape Verde which suffered from "undercooked and recycled food, a strong smell of sewage and flies everywhere".

Anthony Hoban and his wife Lesley jetted off on a 10-day break to Cape Verde's Riu Funana hotel on 7 September.

But on 12 September they both claim to have started suffering from gastric symptoms, including stomach pains, sickness and diarrhoea.

The Hobans are joining more than 530 British holidaymakers who have instructed lawyers to investigate after also being struck down with gastric illnesses during their holiday.

As with others who stayed at the hotel, Anthony, 66, and Lesley, 61, reported what looked like undercooked food, that they believed was being recycled for other meals and the flies that appeared to be everywhere.

Lesley and Anthony Hoban. (Reach)

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Mr Hoban, from Consett, Co Durham, said: "The flies seemed to be everywhere, with no real attempt to do anything about it and after a few days, we started to notice the food becoming a bit too repetitive and what had been out for lunch appeared to have been just recycled for dinner. There were also birds pecking at the food on the tables in the buffet.

"This is not what you expect from what we thought was going to be a luxury break and both of us were so ill, it ruined a holiday we had so much been looking forward to. We asked the rep in the hotel for help and they just told us to stay hydrated and it seemed they didn’t really care much about what was happening.

Mr Hoban also claimed that the bathroom in the couple's hotel room contained cracked tiles and the towels supplied were "threadbare and contained holes".

He added: "This was meant to be a luxury break abroad but is without a doubt the worst holiday we have ever been on."

A bird on the buffet table. (Reach)

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Upon returning to the UK, the Hobans joined hundreds of holidaymakers who have instructed specialist international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate.

Irwin Mitchell said that many of those who got in touch with the lawyers have tested positive for a number of serious bacterial pathogens including salmonella, campylobacter, shigella and E.coli.

The law firm added that everyone who contacted them to investigate had been on holidays booked through tour operator TUI, staying across seven hotels in the Sal area of Cape Verde.

Many holidaymakers have questioned why they were allowed to stay at their hotels when it was reported that others had already fallen ill.

The holiday was meant to be a luxury retreat to Cape Verde. (Getty)
The holiday was meant to be a luxury retreat to Cape Verde. (Getty)

Jatinder Paul, leading the team of specialist international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell supporting those affected, said: "That so many should have been affected at these hotels, in the same region under the same tour operator, has left the people we are representing with a lot of questions over what happened to them this summer and we’re determined to help them find the answers."

A spokesperson for TUI said: "We are sorry to hear about these experiences in Cape Verde, however as this is now a legal matter it would be inappropriate to comment.

"We'd like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of our hotels in respect to health and safety, including hygiene."