Melia Pro

Published on Monday, February 19, 2018

Hotel issues refund after wrongly reporting guest as suspected paedophile



Travelodge has apologised to a father who was mistakenly accused of being a paedophile after he checked into a room with his teenage daughter.


Karl Pollard, 46, was travelling with his 14-year-old daughter Stephanie, to visit his mother in hospital, when they checked into the Travelodge in Macclesfield, Cheshire.


They took the four-hour journey from south Wales to Cheshire so his daughter could see her grandmother before she started treatment for cancer.


He told the Daily Star the receptionist gave him a 'weird look' when he said he'd take the double bedroom, which he was told was the only room left.


Shortly after going to the room to unpack, the police knocked on his door saying staff had dialled 999 believing he was a paedophile.


Mr Pollard said: "One minute I was brushing my teeth, the next I was being told I was a paedophile."


He added: "When we arrived the receptionist gave me a weird look but I thought nothing of it.


"We went up to the room to get unpacked and ready to see my mum.


"It was only a 20-minute walk away - which is why I chose the hotel.


"About 10 minutes later there was a knock at the door. A policewoman was standing there. I thought something had happened to my mum or my wife.


"But she said: 'We've had a call from Travelodge, they believe you are a paedophile grooming underage girls'."


He added his daughter was 'distraught' after being interviewed by police and was terrified her dad was going to be taken away.


A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "Staff at the Travelodge did the right thing by reporting what they believed to be suspicious activity to officers, although thankfully there was nothing untoward and it turned out to be a misunderstanding."


A Travelodge spokesman said: "We are sorry for any distress caused to Mr Pollard. 


"We take our responsibilities towards protecting children and vulnerable young people extremely seriously.  


"All our hotel teams are trained according to national guidelines supported by the NSPCC, which have also been approved by the National Working Group on child sexual exploitation, South Yorkshire Police and the MET Police.


"In the past, proactive action by our hotel teams has helped to safeguard young people at risk.  In this instance we got it wrong and we have apologised to Mr Pollard, as well as refunded his stay."


This is the second time Travelodge staff have apologised to a father they wrongly suspected of being a paedophile.


 

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