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Bodmin Moor's Jamaica Inn under fire for £100 smoking fine

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

  • Jamaica Inn

  • NO IFS OR BUTTS: Stuart and Gill Wall insist they didn't smoke in their room at Jamaica Inn, right, for which they were fined £100 after the manager said cigarette ends were found in a bin.

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A NORTH Cornwall couple have been left fuming after they were "fined" for allegedly smoking in a bedroom at a landmark pub on Bodmin Moor.

Gill and Stuart Wall discovered £100 had been taken out of their bank account by the Jamaica Inn for contravening house rules, but insist they did not smoke in the room and are warning that unless the money is paid back, further action is likely.

Mrs Wall said she and her husband booked into the inn as part of their wedding anniversary celebrations, but days later found the money had been removed from their account without their permission.

Mrs Wall said: "We phoned the Jamaica Inn's manager to ask what the extra charge was for, and he accused us of leaving two cigarette ends in a bathroom bin and said he had photographic evidence.

"I tried to explain to him that we hadn't smoked in the room at any time, and joked that the hotel must have had one of its ghosts in there, but he said no one else would have had access to the room as he had the master key, and hung up."

The couple, who are both smokers and from Wadebridge, insist they only smoked outside the premises after having a meal and drinks that night.

Steve Carr, the Jamaica Inn's general manager, said they had a policy of charging guests £100 if they smoked in their bedrooms, information that was clearly displayed at reception and in the inn's literature and booking confirmation letters. Five guests had been charged £100 since the policy was introduced 18 months ago.

"Mr and Mrs Wall were smoking in their allocated room; we found evidence of ash and cigarette ends in the bathroom and a strong smoke odour.

"This is not something we do without strong evidence, and I'm afraid on this occasion the evidence was there to see."

Mr Carr insisted there were no cigarette ends in the room prior to the Walls' arrival, as he had checked the room himself, but they are adamant they did not smoke in their room and say the inn had no right to withdraw £100 from their account without first telling them why.

"Stuart and I had not been smoking in the room and the manager has accused us of something we did not do," said Mrs Walls. "We are not prepared to dismiss this accusation and unless the money is returned, we will be pursing the matter further."

Malcolm Bell, head of tourism at VisitCornwall, said hotels were increasingly banning smoking in their establishments, particularly the smaller ones.

"It's to do with market and social forces," he said.

"There are fewer smokers these days, including ex-smokers who can't stand the smell of smoke, so if someone who's not a smoker is offered a room which has an odour of cigarettes, there's every chance he or she will refuse it, and that income will be lost."

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  • Arcamo  |  January 22 2013, 1:29PM

    So it's OK for these fagging chavs to ruin the comfort of the next resident ? How else can they deter these selfish people from smoking in the rooms ? I think most hotels threaten the same now if you book into a non smoking room.

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  • Arcamo  |  January 22 2013, 1:15PM

    Loving their work http://tinyurl.com/bcbmzdk

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  • Arcamo  |  January 22 2013, 1:14PM

    Loving their work.. http://tinyurl.com/bcbmzdk

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  • suffolkpunch  |  November 09 2012, 3:33PM

    Other hotels have tried to 'fine' people for smoking in their room when they have not. When taken to court the hotel have lost. This is just a con by the Inn to extort more money from their customers. Hotels have even tried to con non smokers with this trick.

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  • marma495  |  November 09 2012, 2:10PM

    Ahh, another one to avoid. What a sad state of affairs when the whole of the tourist industry have to rely on ex-smokers for their business. Incidentally there is,nt really less smokers these days either, as per the Government,s own website, 21% in 2007. 21% in 2012. The vast majority just choose NOT to frequent British establishments where they are not catered for.

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  • buzzzz  |  November 09 2012, 1:02PM

    I've stayed in better pig styes than that place. I don't know what all the fuss is about with Jamaica Inn, its nothing special, food is average, staff are miserable and prices are sky high. Use a travel tavern. Much cheaper in comparison and you are a name, not a room number.

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  • roger_angove  |  November 09 2012, 10:47AM

    Normally, in order to fine someone, it is necessary to secure a conviction on a court of law. A private company taking money from a customer's bank account on the basis of unproven allegations is unjust, even if (and it's a big 'if) it is legal to do so on the basis of a contract. I'm surprised, too, that the owners appear to be happy to parade their authoritarian practices in public. Whether or not they have broken the law they have shot themselves in the foot from a PR perspective. I can't imagine many people queuing up to be victimised and 'fined' by the arbitrary dikat of a pub landlord.

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