PONTINS has apologised to a family whose holiday from hell ended with a bang – when a toy they bought from an on-site shop "exploded" in their baby's hand.
When Tania Savory and her partner Martin Pitchley returned home from ten disastrous days at Camber Sands Holiday Park in Eastbourne they thought their summer could not get any worse.
The couple were already fuming at having spent £2,000 on a break in which nothing went right.
The one memento they did have was a flashing toy microphone their one-year-old Abbi Savory had taken a shine to.
But a week after their holiday had finished, Abbi was playing with the toy in the living room of her family home in Croydon when her parents say it broke and starting leaking battery acid.
Her mum and dad, who had already lodged a formal complaint with Pontins about their holiday, contacted trading standards officers who are now investigating the incident.
Tania said: "All of a sudden I've heard a bang - like someone loudly clapping. The toy had exploded in Abbi's hand.
"I went straight to her to make sure she was all right.
"When I looked at the toy the plastic had cracked and all the acid had come out of the batteries.
"I was horrified. If she was holding the end where it had happened she would have been hurt. Luckily she was just stunned."
The incident capped a miserable fortnight for Tania, 37, and Martin, 45, who had taken Abbi, Ellie, 6, Kyle, 13, Kirstie, 16, and their disabled 78-year-old grandfather to Eastbourne for what they hoped would be a pleasant family holiday.
Instead on arrival they found a catalogue of problems.
The lock to the bathroom door of their flat was broken, water was leaking from the shower unit and the tiles were covered in mould. The living room and kitchen were "filthy".
"The apartment was in an abysmal state," said Martin, who took dozens of photos of the dilapidated site.
Conditions were no better outside the flat. A wooden handrail on a nearby stairwell was rotten and falling away and the catering facilities were a "shambles".
"On the days we felt brave enough to use it there were no trays or bowls for starters, and often no cutlery," said Mr Pitchley. "The serving area got into a state very quickly, with cereal spilt all over the counter. Sometimes when we arrived the tables were covered in half-eaten food."
Mr Pitchley spent more than £2,000 on the holiday, including booking fee, petrol for two cars, ten-day boarding costs for cats and a parrot, the hire of a mobility scooter and food.
He said: "I was really disappointed. I felt so cheated out of the money I had paid for what I thought would be a nice family holiday.
"Every member of my family had a miserable time and could not wait to return home. Even when we got back we were given a reminder of a holiday we can't wait to forget."
Phil Martin, manager of Pontins Camber Sands, said: "We have been in the business for 60 years now, providing good value for money family holidays.
"It is the middle of the summer and was extremely busy when the gentleman came, though that's no excuse for some of the photographs he has got."
Asked whether Pontins would apologise, Mr Martin added: "Yes, absolutely. Obviously, we want all the guests who come to us to have a really good time. We're very sorry that hasn't happened and we will be sorting things out with him.
"We're in the middle of dealing with his complaint and we will be offering something by way of compensation."
A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said its Trading Standards team are investigating the family's complaints and had contacted Pontins about the toy.