A Watford couple have received part of a significant payout awarded to the hundreds of holidaymakers who contracted severe gastric illnesses while staying at a hotel in the Caribbean.

More than 400 British holidaymakers have received a £1.9 million settlement from their tour operator after nightmare stays at a Caribbean resort. Geoffrey Salmon, 58, and Lisa Walker, 44, both of whom live in Watford, have settled their case out of court.

Hundreds of guests visited the four-star Bahia Principe resort in San Juan in 2007 but their holidays were ruined by outbreaks of serious illnesses including Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter, which at saw guests being ferried to hospital in a fleet of ambulances.

Guests who stayed in 2007 told lawyers that food was undercooked, served at the wrong temperature or left uncovered for many hours and covered with flies. Other complaints included cockroaches and ants being seen in bedrooms and bathrooms and toilets overflowing and flooding sewage into bathrooms.

Clive Garner, head of the International Travel Law team at Irwin Mitchell, said: "We are delighted for our clients that they have now received a fair settlement from the tour operators after enduring such terrible times at the Bahia Principe.

"The long history of guests suffering illness at this hotel makes grim reading. There have been problems at the hotel on and off for 10 years in the lead up to the 2007 outbreak and we are still receiving complaints from guests five years after that dreadful outbreak.

"We remain very concerned that hotels and tour operators have not learned vital lessons and that all too often holidaymakers suffer illness, sometimes with life changing consequences due to inadequate health and hygiene standards."

Tour operator First Choice agreed to settle the cases of 409 of its customers for £1.9 million which includes the settlement of claims for 60 children. The sums awarded to the children were approved by a judge sitting in the High Court in London on July 17.

Thomson, another tour operator, settled 44 similar cases last December for nearly £200,000.