MOST of the hotels visited during Avon and Somerset Police spot checks failed to recognise signs of child sexual exploitation (CSE), according to the force.

Plain clothes officers dropped by a total of 20 hotels in Yeovil and Bristol along with police cadets aged 14 to 16.

The adults attempted to book a room along with the cadet without identification and offering to pay ion cash.

Worryingly, 11 of the 13 hotels in Yeovil and six of the seven in Bristol agreed to let out a room without asking any questions.

The bookings were immediately cancelled and the officers informed the hotel staff if was part of a police exercise.

Prior to the operation, most of the hotels had been offered training on how to spot the signs of CSE, but only a few signed up.

Detective Constable Tracy Sparrow, from the child exploitation team, said: "Avon and Somerset Police take CSE very seriously and this recent operation is just one of the many innovative and tenacious initiatives we are using to tackle the exploitation of children.

"It was disappointing to see the majority of the hotels we visited so willingly allow an adult accompanied by a child to book a room in the circumstances.

"We are looking forward to working closely with them to educate them on the signs of CSE and ensure they have the knowledge and confidence to report their suspicions to us.

"We know hotels and B&Bs are often used as places to exploit and abuse victims of CSE and it is the responsibility of premises licence holders and their managers to make sure that suitable control measures are in place for the protection of children from harm.

"We are asking taxi drivers to also play their part in raising any CSE concerns they might have as we know in some instances, taxis are used to transport CSE perpetrators and their victims to hotels and B&Bs."

Kelly Darch, manager at Pen Mill Hotel, which was one of the Yeovil hotels that passed the test, said: "We are pleased that our response to this recent exercise was correct.

"Attending the first Avon and Somerset Police course for CSE was a very worthwhile, informative and necessary exercise.

"We fully support the work of Avon and Somerset Police in this important area and welcome their efforts in raising awareness among local hoteliers of the role we have to play in spotting and reporting suspected CSE."

Guidance for hotels and reception staff on how to spot the signs of CSE:

•Last minute/walk-in bookings, often late at night;

•Guests only using a room for a few hours;

•Guests refusing to provide identification when checking in;

•Guests refusing to leave a credit card and insisting on paying in cash;

•Guests with a local address booking a room;

•Guests checking in with no luggage;

•Guests requesting a room that is isolated;

•A frequent guest of the hotel seen with different young people;

•Bookings made in a different name to the person checking in;

•Guests arriving and asking for a specific room number, but they don’t know the name in which the room is booked;

•Visitors in the hotel who do not have a room booked;

•Guests who don’t want rooms cleaned and/or use the ‘do not disturb’ sign.

To report concerns to the police call 101 or complete a secure online reporting form at In an emergency, or if a child is in immediate danger, always call 999.

For information about the signs of CSE, alongside links to help and support, visit

Hotels, B&Bs and taxi companies wishing to work with Avon and Somerset Police in raising awareness and educating their employees, including how to spot the signs of CSE, are invited to get in touch with Topaz Prevention Officer Androulla Nicolaou, by emailing