Hotel staff ask widowed dad to prove he's not a paedophile 6 years ago

Hotel staff ask widowed dad to prove he's not a paedophile

A widowed dad was horrified to discover that hotel staff had called police after he checked-in with his 13-year-old daughter.

Craig Darwell, a 46-year-old single dad from Leeds, brought his 13-year-old Millie away for a weekend at the Thorpe Amusement Park in Surrey and was left reeling by the events that unfolded.

After checking into a Travelodge hotel in the nearby Surrey town of Chertsey, Craig was questioned by members of the budget hotel's reception staff who expressed concern that he was not related to his daughter.

Craig told his local newspaper The Yorkshire Evening Post that he had booked the double room in advance after being informed it was the only accommodation available,

"The staff asked if I had ID, but as I'd already booked and paid I had no passport or anything with me. I showed them some photos on my phone, and even went on Facebook and showed them a picture of Millie as a baby I'd posted on her 13th birthday. They reluctantly gave us the room key and we went upstairs."

But when the single dad - who has raised Millie alone since her mother died when she was just four - returned to the hotel's reception area, he was told that the police had been called,

"They still wanted ID and said it was company policy. I've never had anything like this before. I've been abroad with her three times. I asked them on what grounds they'd rung the police, and a female PC turned up about two minutes later. It took her about ten seconds to realise that we were genuine, but she still had to conduct an interview.

The most upsetting part was that they had to check on my daughter...she was distraught. We were supposed to be going out for a meal but she was so upset she wouldn't leave the room."

Craig, a car trader, told the newspaper that he made a formal complaint to Travelodge,


"It spoiled the week really. We stayed in the resort but it did spoil it. Common sense should have prevailed. I understand the need to be vigilant if anything arouses suspicion, but this has never happened before."

A spokesperson for the budget hotel group had this to say on the matter:

"We take our responsibilities towards protecting children and vulnerable young people extremely seriously. Our colleagues are trained based on current national guidelines from the NSPCC, the police and other agencies and in the past, hotel team actions have led to successful intervention to protect young people.

Clearly fine judgements have to be made and we deeply regret any distress or inconvenience caused to Mr Darwell on this occasion. We are undertaking a full investigation into the circumstances and will take careful note of any lessons learned in due course, including additional training where appropriate.

In the meantime, we would like to apologise to Mr Darwell for the situation he encountered and we will be making further contact with him as our investigation continues."

Local police confirmed that they had attended the hotel "following a concern for safety" and stated that they will not be making any further enquiries into the incident,

"Police were called by a member of staff at the Travelodge in Chertsey on Thursday March 30 just after 8pm following a concern for safety. Officers attended and made no arrests, no further enquiries will take place. Hotels, taxi companies and other licensed premises have recently been equipped with the right knowledge to identify children who could be at risk of exploitation under Operation Makesafe."

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