British tourists have been forced to sleep on beaches in Europe after paying for rooms in hotels still closed by the coronavirus lockdown.

Consumer watchdog Which? reported the findings and said that the travel agency Loveholidays has been the main offender, according to the Times newspaper.

One tourist flew to Spain with his partner and 10-year-old son only to find the hotel was closed.

Some Brits have had to sleep on beaches while others have returned home.

Paul Davis, 48, from Lincolnshire, booked a holiday in Salou on the Costa Daurada in Spain on July 1 to arrive just three days later on July 4.

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Tourists arrive at the Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca

The trip, which cost more than £1,500, was booked the day the Foreign Office relaxed its international travel advice.

However on arrival he found the 4R Regina Gran hotel shuttered and Mr Davis was left with no other option than to book a new room.

He was finally able to transfer to a hotel run by Loveholidays, but lost his £250 deposit.

He told the Times: "When we pulled up I thought we must have the wrong hotel: it was all shut and hadn't been opened for a good while.

"It's disgusting. We were fortunate enough to have the money to stay somewhere else but lots of other people probably aren't in that position."

The original hotel was still available to book yesterday through Loveholidays.

A passenger wearing a protective face mask, carries her luggage as she gets off a Eurostar train

Another tourist, Anita Lorenzo, contacted Loveholidays after finding the Sol Wave House in Magaluf, where she was due to stay, was closed.

She and her friends were forced to book a self-catering flat for £600 when they heard nothing from Loveholidays last Friday.  

Sammy Liperis only learned that the four star all-inclusive Sol Fuerteventura Jandiá hotel in the Canary Islands was closed when they were dropped off at the venue by a transfer company arranged for them by Loveholidays.

One social media user tweeted at Loveholidays: "My family is leaving for Gran Canaria shortly and i called hotel and they are closed and so i need new hotel booked and any other changes done asap".

Holidays are on - but not like they used to be

According to Which?, the majority of complaints of rooms being sold at locked down hotels involve Loveholidays, but that there were some others. 

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, told The Times: "It is beyond belief that holidaymakers have been left in a position where they have either had to fork out hundreds of pounds for alternative accommodation or risk being left with nowhere to sleep."

A Loveholidays spokeswoman said: "We are aware of a few instances where customers have arrived at hotels that are closed and our in-resort emergency assistance team are working with those customers to find them suitable alternative accommodation."

She insisted that in some cases the hotel had not informed the agent of its closure, adding: "We apologise for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused our customers. We will of course refund the cost of his hotel booking."