HOTEL and B&B managers have been urged to help spot the signs their youngest guests are the victims of unscrupulous criminals.

They have been invited to a series of events across the county aimed at helping them protect vulnerable children.

A Wiltshire Police spokeswoman said: “We are concerned that Hotels and B&Bs can be used by criminals to sexually abuse and criminally exploit children, and we're calling on managers to join us in preventing this.

“Operation Makesafe focuses on training people to spot the signs of child exploitation, be it criminal and/or sexual, and report it to the police.

“It is not just a good idea for people in the service industry to be able to spot the signs of child abuse, it is their responsibility.

“Receptionists, managers and housekeepers are in a unique position to notice when someone or something seems suspicious and pick up when something is not right.”

Hotels have been used by drug dealers in the past as bases from which to sell crack cocaine and heroin in Swindon.

In one extreme example from 2018 a then 17-year-old boy was ambushed in Penhill by an armed ransom gang who him to a hotel down the M4, tied him up and left him there before driving him around as he tried to raise cash to pay off a drugs debt.

The free training sessions will take place at Arkells Brewery, Swindon, on March 17, at Melksham Town FC on March 18, and Salisbury City Hall on March 19. For more information visit: