Hoteliers in Crete’s most popular resort have reportedly blocked about 10,000 bookings from the UK to make way for families from elsewhere in Europe.

Officials in Malia say that the move is the start of a campaign to “reclaim” resorts from operators that promise young British holidaymakers hedonistic holidays full of binge-drinking, sex, drug-taking and partying.

Efthymios Moutrakis, the town’s deputy mayor, was reported by The Times as saying: “We’ve given these tour operators a free hand in branding an image completely alien to what Malia really is.

“Malia isn’t about sex, drugs and ‘everything goes’. It’s the prime tourist destination in Crete, bringing in millions of euros to the island.”

Hotels and resorts are now giving preference to families, mainly from Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

Security patrols have also been beefed up. Police said that 189 people had been arrested for possession of hippy crack, a legal high in the UK usually inhaled from balloons.

This month an 18-year-old British girl fell into a coma after inhaling the gas during a night out in Malia. She is still being treated.

More than six million bookings are estimated to be made in the greater Malia region each year, mainly by UK operators.