COUNCILLORS decided not to revoke a hotel's licence after it sold a room and booze to a schoolgirl.

A 13-year-old girl walked into the Letcombe Street Premier Inn accompanied by an undercover police officer in October and was sold alcohol at the hotel bar after buying a room.

Thames Valley Police raised serious concerns after learning staff had not been trained in Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) leading to review on Thursday.

Councillor Paul Woodward, chair of the Licensing Applications sub-committee, said: “This should not have happened. You should urgently review your procedures and do your utmost to make sure this does not happen again.

“We are very concerned and we were not happy. We did consider suspension. We are not happy about what happened.”

The girl was told not to alter her appearance in an effort to look older, but was not challenged about her age at any stage.

It follows another incident when a 15-year-old was served alcohol at the hotel in 2016, causing police to call the review.

Chris Grunert, representing Premier Inn, said: “We have no desire to sell children alcohol and this was an aberration in the employee's career.

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“It is a heinous crime, we accept it could be an issue everywhere and we are not blinded.

“There is a new sign at the check-in desk saying adults with children will be asked questions by staff on the purpose of their visit as a precaution.”

One staff member was adamant that no CSE training had been issued by manager Ward Van Gorkum, who was criticised by PC Simon Wheeler for refusing to adopt the Challenge 25 policy.

Cllr Woodward explained that the committee came close to revoking the licence, but decided to impose conditions after efforts had been made by the hotel chain.

These include implementation of the Challenge 25 policy, staff training for CSE and a record of every time staff refuse to sell alcohol.

An NSPCC spokesman added: “Child protection is everybody’s responsibility and it entirely right that police carry out operations to test whether different organisations are alert to the signs of abuse or exploitation.

“Organisations that fail these tests should be held to account and make all the necessary changes needed to protect children.

“Raising awareness of the issue of child sexual exploitation is vital if it is to be prevented from taking place.”

If you are concerned about a child’s welfare call 0808 800 5000. Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk for support.