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  1. ITV Report

Exposed: Complaints of 'disgusting' conditions at Pontins Brean Sands - A Special Investigation

Three months ago an air duct collapsed in the entertainment hall injuring 18 people.

As an enquiry into the incident continues ITV News West Country has since been contacted by families describing the accommodation as dirty and mouldy, while a former staff member says she feels sorry for anyone who comes to stay.

In this special report we went undercover with a team of scientists to find out just how clean the chalets actually are.

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We can assure you that the health and safety of our guests is of paramount importance to us.

We always endeavour to engage with our guests. All apartments are thoroughly cleaned prior to a guests arrival and the fixtures and fittings are specifically chosen to provide a hygienic environment in what is a self-catering apartment.

– Pontins Brean Sands Statement
Pontins promise holidays that create magical family memories but for guests like Sam it's one they're trying to forget. Credit: ITV West Country

One visitor was mother of two Sam Sullivan, who saved £194 for a three-day stay for herself and her two daughters.

Sam say she arrived arrived to 'disgusting' accommodation with mould in the fridge and on the walls.

If I knew what it was like I wouldn't have risked my money or the heartache of the children. I wouldn't have taken them there.

It was gutting and to have them crying the whole way home. That was more heartbreaking to know your children are upset and I couldn't do anything about it.

– Sam Sullivan, Pontins Brean Sands guest

It was their only holiday of the year but Sam was so disgusted with what she found, she drove straight back home to Bristol.

Pontins have fully refunded Sam.

They have told ITV News they will investigate the specific complaints made by families who have stayed here and are looking in to the findings from our investigation.

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This former staff member said she felt really sorry for families going on holiday at Pontins. Credit: ITV West Country Credit: ITV West Country

A former staff member, who's asked to have her identity protected, told ITV News the air duct collapse in February was an "accident waiting to happen".

We were just waiting for something to happen. I wasn't shocked, just sad really because it could have been someone's family, someone could have... it could have been a whole lot worse.

It was sort of expected. After seeing what... the situation was, and how things were dealt with in that place it didn't surprise me at all.

– Former Pontins worker
Former a staff member said the kitchen was often flooded Credit: Viewer Video

She goes on to described conditions in the kitchen of the camp as terrible.

There was wet floors all the time.

The white walls, they were black, they were just filthy dirty, they hadn't been cleaned for ages and no sooner had you cleaned them, they were dirty again. Nothing got done about it at all until I tried to sort it myself.

– Former Pontins worker
These are the four areas inspected by University of Bath microbiologists. Credit: ITV West Country

Microbiologists from the University of Bath ran their swabs around a chalet at Pontins as well as another well known hotel chain.

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They found similar numbers of bacteria on the bedside table and the cleanliness of the toilet, but the Pontins shower curtain was considerably worse with a much bigger variety of bacteria living on it.

The scientists also tested the floors and found the lino in the Pontins chalet had a lot more bacteria than the hotel chain with carpets.

These dishes show the levels of bacteria on the Pontins shower curtain. Credit: ITV West Country

This basically tells us that at the control hotel, they are cleaning it regularly. But at the Pontins hotel they're clearly not cleaning it particularly regularly, and this is allowing a greater variety of bacteria to grow.

– Dr Emma Denham Senior Lecturer in Microbiology, University of Bath

The facilities at Pontins were last assessed in 2017 when they were given a good hygiene rating by Sedgemoor Council - they will be inspected again by 2021.