A HARD-WORKING hotelier has been left “demoralised” after police visited his hotel to investigate whether it had beached lockdown rules.

Jason Smedley, who owns Clacton’s Royal Hotel, said he felt officers were “taking joy” in clamping down on struggling businesses.

He claims police said they “thought they had a winner” when they arrived at the hotel believing to investigate whether it had beached lockdown rules.

The Gazette asked Essex Police to respond to the claims but it did not despite being given two days to do so.

Mr Smedley, who also owns the My Big Fat Greek Taverna restaurant in Marine Parade East, said police attended the venue on Saturday night after incorrectly believing it was open to the public in breach of lockdown restrictions.

But Mr Smedley said the hotel was actually hosting a film crew free of charge in a bid to promote Clacton.

Mr Smedley, who allowed NHS and frontline workers to stay at his hotel for free during the first lockdown, was previously left upset after being interrogated by police in September for being open seven minutes after the 10pm cut off while a large family checked their bill.

Following the latest incident, Mr Smedley said: “The fact that they had to Google on our doorstep the law that allows film crews to work was embarrassing.

“But to then say ‘Oh, we thought we had a winner’ in the hope of shutting us down is demoralising.

“We are hosting a film crew at no charge to try and make Clacton a better place.

“Clacton has already had had two places shut down for breaching Covid-19 regulations. Why on Earth would the police take joy out of making lives and livelihoods even more difficult?”

“The police never even turned up for our cash robbery last summer and the two ‘eat and runs’. What a shambles of a country.

“We at The Royal Hotel will continue to promote the town, its businesses and support the community and NHS as much as we can.

“It is a sad state when no one else in charge can have the same philosophy.

“We have no problem with a job being done, but it was the fact that it felt like it was sad for the police officers that they couldn’t find any wrongdoing.”

The Gazette asked Essex Police to respond to the claims but did not respond at the time of going to press.