A loving father who booked a room with his teenage daughter was shocked when police raided his room accusing him of being a paedophile.
Staff at the Travelodge he was staying in called police after assuming his daughter was an underage girl which he had groomed.
The pair were staying in the hotel in Macclesfield, Cheshire, as Karl Pollard, 46, was taking Stephanie, 14, to visit his mother, who was suffering from cancer.
Mr Pollard and his daughter had traveled four hours on the train from their home in south Wales to visit his mother.
Mr Pollard 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.’
Mr Polard added: ‘My mum has just been diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer.
‘We’re not sure how long she has left.
Karl Pollard (pictured) had taken his daughter Stephanie to visit his mother, who was suffering from cancer
‘I wanted to take Stephanie down to visit her before she started treatment.’
Mr Pollard, who cares for his wife Kim, 45, who has multiple sclerosis, booked a double bedroom for him and Stephanie after being told it was the only room 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.
‘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”.’
To make matters worse, Mr Pollard and his daughter were interviewed separately, with his daughter left ‘distraught’ after the whole ordeal.
He said: ‘I explained to her that I was Stephanie’s dad. The officer had to ask her loads of questions to prove it.’
He said: ‘My daughter was in tears. She was so scared – and thought I was going to get taken away. This has never happened to me before.’
Mr Pollard said he was not offered a refund for the £150 trip by Travelodge, although a spokesman the company said that had now issued and apology for the fiasco and had given him a refund.
Mr Pollard said he was not offered a refund for the £150 trip by Travelodge, although a spokesman the company said that had now issued and apology for the fiasco and had given him a refund
A Travelodge spokesman said: ‘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.’
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at 3pm on Thursday, February 8, 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.’