A suit of armour, a two-piece leather suite and a 12ft model of Concorde are among some of the more unusual items that guests at Best Western hotels have taken home with them, along with the obligatory toiletries.
One guest even managed to clear out an entire hotel room - taking everything inside, except the bed. Their ill-gotten haul included a bedspread and matching curtains, a plasma TV set, hair-dryer, kettle, cups and saucers.
Plants in the hotels' gardens have disappeared, too, with cuttings being taken, whole plants dug up and even bark chippings from flower beds going home with the guests.
Currently, it is the Christmas decorations that are going missing, with baubles, tinsel, lights and even nativity scenes disappearing from the group's 270 hotels across the country
Best Western head of marketing Tim Wade said the majority of guests were the epitome of honesty. "But, just occasionally, we get a rogue who takes more than the odd soap or shampoo home with them," he added.
"It appears the more unusual and personality packed the items, the more they appeal to those light-fingered guests. Goodness knows how guests manage to conceal a suit of armour or indeed a sofa when they checked out!
"Clearly, we don't mind when shampoo or soap goes walkabout - we even have ‘so good you'll want to steal two' on our soap. On the bright side I guess it shows the high quality of the products we supply."
The most common items to go missing from Best Western hotels are toiletries, teaspoons, towels, bathrobes and batteries from remote controls.
Best Western's missing list comes on the back of a recent survey by Hotwire, which suggests nearly half of hotel guests are happy to steal items from hotel rooms. As many as 59% believe it is fine to take shampoo, 29% make off with stationery, and 7% with towels, the poll said.
By Janet Harmer
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