A dedicated dad was labelled a paedophile by Travelodge staff who assumed his daughter was an underage grooming victim.
Karl Pollard took his daughter Stephanie, 14, to visit her grandmother, who has an aggressive form of lung cancer.
He was horrified when workers at the Travelodge in Macclesfield, Chester, accused him of being a paedophile.
Karl said: ‘I couldn’t believe it. It was an emotional trip already – but it was made so much worse.
‘One minute I was brushing my teeth, the next I was being told I was a paedophile.’
Karl and Stephanie had made the four hour train journey from their home in south Wales to visit his mother.
Karl added: ‘We’re not sure how long she has left. I wanted to take Stephanie down to visit her before she started treatment.’
Karl, a carer for his wife Kim, 45, who has multiple sclerosis, booked a double room for himself and Stephanie after he was told it was the only one left.
He said: ‘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.
‘About ten minutes later there was a knock at the door. A policewoman was standing there.’
Karl got a fright and was concerned something had happened to his mum or wife.
The officer told him: ‘We’ve had a call from Travelodge, they believe you are a paedophile grooming underage girls’.
Karl and Stephanie were interviewed separately by the officer, who asked the teen questions in a bid to prove Karl was her dad.
Karl said police dropped the matter almost immediately, but the episode left his daughter ‘distraught’.
He said: ‘My daughter was in tears. She was so scared – and thought I was going to get taken away.
The weekend had cost £150, he said.
‘It was an already traumatic trip. I was treated disgustingly.’
Travelodge stressed it takes its responsibilities towards protecting children and vulnerable young people extremely seriously.
A spokesperson has since apologised and said a full refund has since been given.
They added: ‘All our hotel teams are trained according to national guidelines supported by the NSPCC. In the past proactive action by our hotel teams has helped to safeguard young people at risk. In this instance we got it wrong.’
Cheshire Police said: ‘Police were called at 3pm on Thursday 8 February to reports of suspicious activity at a hotel on Waters Green in Macclesfield.
‘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.’