The Fair Cop Travelodge Dilemma

The other week I took a show to Poole in Dorset. Due to my superstar status I stopped in the local Travelodge.

In addition to my double bed there was also a single bed, made up in the corner. As I unpack I noticed a shiny metallic object just under the bed and assumed it was a decorative finial from the metal curtain pole that’d dropped off.

I appreciate that it’s not a very exciting story so far…but it picks up.

The next morning I’m sat up in bed drinking a cup of tea when the ‘object’ catches my eye again and I think “I ought to put that on the desk for Housekeeping to sort”.

But as I start to lift it up I see that it’s actually…an ‘adult toy’ – and immediately drop it back to where it was…

You know during Covid you had to wash your hands whilst completing two verses of Happy Birthday? Well I washed mine to the acoustic long play version of Bohemian Rhapsody…twice!  


Then considered my options.

My first thought was that as a former cop I’m aware of my obligations under the Theft Act to take reasonable steps to trace the owner.

But as a professional comedian I was aware of my obligation to get as much material out of this as humanly possible! There could be an Edinburgh show in this! 

I had a couple of hours before check-out and so I decided to do the right thing… and put my predicament out on social media.

The first comment was: ‘maybe those Gideons are getting more creative! Have a close look to see if there’s a tiny biblical tract engraved on it’

What like? The 11th Commandment? “Thou shalt not covet another man’s intimate product”…


I honestly didn’t know what to do and decided to put a poll on Twitter with the following 4 options:  Should I:

  • Leave it be (28.2%)
  • Hand it into reception (58.2%)
  • Take it with me (6.5%)
  • Report to the local police (7.1%)

663 people voted:

Would you have said ‘leave it be?’  

28.2% agreed. One of whom strongly advised: “Don’t touch it you don’t know where it’s been” – actually I think I know exactly where it’s been!

My issue, if I leave it, is that it was almost in plain view and no one would believe that the cleaner missed it last time. They’ll think it’s mine!

Maybe it is…I’m at that age where I’m getting a bit more forgetful! Perhaps I should walk into the Poole sex shop just to see if a seedy looking bloke behind the counter says: “hello again Alfie, is it the usual?”


As I’d already made a grab for it this ‘object’ had now got my prints, and DNA, all over it. Yes I know I’m not a high profile superstar but the hotel room was booked in my name and I was playing the main theatre a few hundred yards away. I’m not saying the Daily Mail would run with the story…but if the Bournemouth Echo was having a quiet news day! No one wants to see the headline “Dodgy Copper in Hotel Sex Romp…with Himself!”


Maybe you think: ‘Hand it into reception’?

58% agreed with you, but I thought that was a terrible idea to be honest. A man of my age walking up to the young lady on reception and slapping a sex toy on the counter…maybe accompanied by a cheeky wink…is not really In keeping with my Radio 4 brand. In fact I’d say highly inappropriate.

Someone actually suggested I dump it on the reception desk and announce: ‘this TV remote isn’t working!’

One of my Yorkshire mates said “take the batteries out first and hang on to them. Win Win!”

There were no batteries.


Just to be clear, this was a non-gender specific item. It was about 5” long and designed to fit in a place that all humans have.


It was made of shiny steel tapered on one end and on the other was a large pink gem stone. Which I assume was fake – unless it was a ruby wedding anniversary present. “Thank you for 40 glorious years darling – I’ve bought you something special”. Maybe one each like matching couple’s commitment rings! (pun intended).

By way of a final clue. I made a short video of said ‘object’ which I tried to send to my wife but the signal was poor and it got stuck in my outbox. (You can finish that joke yourself!)

If I wanted to trace the owner I could check the CCTV of anyone shuffling through reception using very small steps.


Who thinks take it with me? (7% agreed) Technically theft by finding.

Besides, with my luck this day would be the first time ever that I was randomly stop searched in a hotel car park

Some cynical copper expounding: “We’ve got knife crime awareness week – could you just step through this portable metal detecting arch sir?”

“No!? Might you be in contravention of section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 by being in possession of a bladed or sharply pointed article?”

‘Yes…but it’s probably not what you think!’


Put it in the bin option anyone? What about your metal recycling obligations?


Who thinks hand it in to the police? Would that be just in case Dorset Constabulary classed it as a hate crime?!


Other suggestions included: “Put it on e-bay”. What… as a pre-loved item?

 “People who purchased this also bought …”


I decided to go to reception and discreetly report that a “previous occupant had left an intimate object”.

And in a bid to stop the cleaner insisting: “no! I’d have definitely noticed that!” – I kicked it a bit further under the bed! Just in case…


Anyhow if you’d like to see me again live I’ll be at the iconic Edinburgh Fringe Festival throughout August with my new show: ‘Fair Cop Alfie and the Mystery of the Jewelled Butt Plug’.

Be careful out there – you never know what’s lurking under the bed!