A shocked father-of-two has claimed his family were thrown out of their hotel after staff accused him of planting a drug addict’s huge needle in their bathroom in a bid to ‘set them up’.
Shane Wilkinson and his family had planned a last minute break at The Avari Hotel in Blackpool but were left stunned when their three-year-old son found the dangerous object in the ensuite bathroom toilet.
The 33-year-old confronted staff with their discovery and complained that his young children could have pricked themselves with the huge needle.
But the hotel manager, who says he checked the room before the family arrived, accused the pair of planting the evidence in a bid to ‘set the hotel up’.
Rather than kick them out, the manager said they left after complaining and receiving a refund.
Police were called and spoke to both parties over the phone but are said to have considered it a ‘civil dispute’ and didn’t attend the scene.
Booking.com has since pulled the hotel from their website pending an investigation.
Shane Wilkinson, 33, and his family had planned a last minute break at The Avari Hotel in Blackpool but were left stunned when their three-year-old son found the uncapped needle (pictured) in the ensuite bathroom toilet
Shane (pictured with his partner Karen Gillott) confronted staff over this discovery and complained that his young children could have pricked themselves with the huge needle. But the hotel manager, who says he checked the room before the family arrived, accused the pair of planting the evidence in a bid to ‘set the hotel up’
The family arrived at the guesthouse, situated 450 yards from Blackpool Central Beach, at around 7:30pm on Friday 11 February.
Shane, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, said the trip was a ‘spur of the moment’ plan and said he didn’t think the hotel would be ‘that bad until we got there’.
After checking in and dropping their belongings off in the family room, which they had paid £54 for, father-of-two Shane says they ventured out to take the children on some rides and get a takeaway.
After returning to the hotel room around two hours later, he says his three-year-old son Grayson went into the bathroom and came back out wielding the uncapped needle.
‘For the price we paid I knew it wasn’t going to be cracking but I didn’t think it was going to be that bad until we got there’, he explained.
‘My son went to the toilet and found it [the needle] – he came out holding it saying “look mummy and daddy, look what I’ve found”.
‘I took it off him and asked him where he found it and he said behind the toilet in the bathroom.
‘The cover was off but luckily I checked him over and he didn’t prick himself. I asked him if he did and he said he didn’t.
‘We think it was a drug addict’s needle. I went downstairs and showed the needle to the staff and said I want refunding.
‘The guy working on the desk called up the manager and I heard him say down the phone “well give him his money back and tell him to f*** off out of my hotel then”.
‘The two lads working there said “we’ve watched them clean that room and that wasn’t there, it’s yours”.’
Upon confronting the manager with the needle, Shane claims he was refunded £35 and ‘kicked him out’, along with his wife Karen Gillott, 43, and their children Skyler Doyle, six, and Grayson Doyle, three.
He says he rang the police but says cops claimed there was ‘nothing they could do’ – despite them being left with nowhere to stay and unable to drive due to having consumed alcohol.
Shane said: ‘I was very shocked by the service and attitude I got from management when I went down to speak to them about it – if I couldn’t have got anywhere else we would’ve been left on the streets.
The venue has since been removed from Booking.com pending an investigation. Pictured: The Avari Hotel in Blackpool
‘I was very angry that I’d come away with my family and was getting accusations like that and that he was implying it was mine.
‘I told them it wasn’t mine – I’ve got a family, why would I want to put that around my kids.’
A friend came to the family’s rescue after they posted about their predicament on social media and picked them up and dropped them off at another hotel where they were able to get a last minute booking.
The father shared what happened on social media to warn other families about the incident and vows to never return to the hotel.
Shane said: ‘I posted about it on Facebook because I wanted to make everyone aware of what we’d found and how we’d been treated as paying customers.
‘What if a child did prick themselves with it and end up with HIV or something?
‘My son is too young to understand what it is and my daughter is disabled so she doesn’t understand do’s and don’ts, so we’re just thankful it wasn’t her that found it because she probably would’ve caught herself with it.
‘I wouldn’t ever go back to that hotel and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else going there either.’
After returning to the hotel room around two hours later, Shane says his three-year-old son Grayson (above) went into the bathroom and came back out wielding the uncapped needle
The Avari Hotel manager said: ‘I cleaned the room myself and there was no needle located in the bathroom or the bedroom.
‘I checked right at the back where the toilet and sink is and there was nothing there. It definitely wouldn’t have been missed.
‘They could’ve brought it in themselves to try and set the hotel up and that’s what I reckon has gone on.
‘I did not tell him to leave the building. I phoned up the owner about the situation and he said for me to give him a refund so I automatically gave him a refund.
‘We don’t have recovering addicts staying here, it’s a family orientated hotel.’
Booking.com have since fully reimbursed the couple and removed the hotel from their site as they investigate the matter.
A spokesperson for Booking.com said: ‘We were disappointed to hear of this customer’s experience with a property booked on our platform.
‘While we investigate further – this property is now closed and will not be able to take further bookings via our website.
‘We have apologised to the guests for their experience and provided a full refund, as well as covering the additional transport and room costs they incurred, and will be providing a gesture of goodwill to put towards a future trip.’