A couple from Southend say their £2,500 five-star Corfu holiday was ruined by 8ft-high mountains of foul smelling seaweed which made their hotel's private beach look like a swamp.

Laurel Cormack and David Crook booked an all-inclusive two-week stay in June last year and were looking forward to lounging on the resort's well-publicised beach.

However, when the couple got to the TUI resort of Mayor Verde Grand Resort in Agios Gordios they found the usually golden sands littered with towering seaweed mounds buzzing with flies.

Mr Crook claims they were only able to spend half a day on the hotel beach and had to abandon their sunbeds due to the seaweed-choked waters and head to the crowded hotel pool.

The recruitment consultant blasted TUI's 'cavalier' attitude to their complaints and for failing to inform guests of the natural phenomenon in advance so they could make alternative plans.

TUI said it was sorry to hear of their disappointment and would be in contact with them again.

Mr Crook, from told the Daily Mail, said: 'We're very much beach people and always book hotels with their own piece of beach with them.

'If we're relaxing we prefer to sit on the beach rather than by the pool as it always gets crowded.

The black seaweed was in very long strips and if you put your foot in it it would stick to your legs. In the water it was 2ft deep.

'The seaweed was smelly and had a lot of flies around it, the water wasn't clear either.

'The holiday wasn't as good as it could have been as the one facility we paid for [the beach], the whole reason we picked that hotel, we weren't able to take advantage of.

'When we booked the holiday online I was expecting the golden sands I saw in the brochure, not mounds of stinking seaweed.'

The 58-year-old said both he and his customer service assistant wife Laurel, 58, were 'taunted' by glossy promotional videos displayed in the hotel showcasing the resort's unspoiled beaches.

Mr Crook said: 'The really irritating thing was in the main reception they had a big 50-inch TV with a continuous looped video.

'It kept showing all the bits of the hotel that we'd booked the holiday for and weren't able to use because they were seaweeded out.

'They were even playing in the lifts and showing the same thing - we couldn't get away from them.'

Grandad-of-one Mr Crook said that diggers were out at 6am scooping up the seaweed from the sand and dumping it in mounds on the hotel area of the beach instead of taking it away.

David told the Mail: 'When we complained about it the TUI rep shrugged her shoulders and said 'there's nothing we can do, the hotel and local authority is doing all they can'.

'The diggers were there a couple of hours from 6am on a few mornings trying to clear the beach but as fast as they moved it the seaweed returned.

'They weren't removing it though just piling it up, it was an eyesore. Apparently a couple of weeks before we were there there was a dredger that took away about 50 tonnes of seaweed.

'We weren't there for that but you don't order a dredger and get diggers on the beach if it's not a problem.

'We could have used the less affected public beach further along but that would have entailed paying for sunbeds, parasols and snacks which defeats the object of going all inclusive.

'Our argument has always been never about assigning blame or responsibility for the seaweed.

'It's a natural phenomena, it's not the hotel or TUI's fault and I never said it was.

'What I was really incensed about was the fact that all they're doing is hiding behind it being a natural phenomena.

'It first started at the end of March and we went in June - they'd known about this for three months.

'Do they not monitor their resorts for this type of event? Do they not notify customers?

'If we'd had an informed choice we wouldn't have cancelled our holiday, but we would have just gone to a different resort not affected by it.

'I don't want a load of money back, I just want them to hold their hands up and admit it's something they should have made people aware of.

'I wouldn't want other people to go through the experience, it's just wrong.'

Mr Crook complained to TUI in writing and said he was 'disappointed' with their response - even receiving a missive 'thoughtlessly' sent out.

Mr Crook, told the Mail: 'I had an email from one TUI rep again explaining it was a natural phenomenon and that she was 'sorry about the incontinence this has caused'

'My first thought was that the email hadn't been put through spell check or checked for any autocorrects it was just speedily bashed out with little or no thought.

'I've also tried speaking to them on the phone and on one glorious occasion was on hold for 50 minutes listening to a continuous loop of the same song - by the end of it I was losing the will to live.'

Father-of-two Mr Crook said the experience had put him off booking a TUI holiday in the future.

Mr Crook said: 'The cavalier attitude TUI took has meant that we will never use them again and nor would we recommend them.

'The amount we paid might not be a lot of money to a lot of people, but it's a big chunk of money for us.

'We're not wealthy people we're just normal working people - it's our two weeks of rest and relaxation.

'TUI's whole attitude really disappointed me, it's just left a really bad taste in the mouth.

'I never said it was their fault, all I was saying was 'do you not monitor your resorts for this kind of occurrences to let people know so they can make an informed choice about whether they want to proceed with it or not'?'

A TUI spokesman said: 'We're sorry to hear of the Cormack party's disappointment and we will be in contact the customers directly once again to discuss in further detail.'

A Mayor of Corfu spokesman said: 'According to the president of the local community the seaweed collection and creation of huge mounds were done by the hotel.'