ROOMS at a Colchester hotel used to house refugees have appeared on a website of a popular travel agency sparking fears travellers could be conned out of their cash.

The Holiday Inn Express, in Langham, was previously being used as a safe house for 100 Afghan males seeking asylum in the UK, as reported by the Gazette back in November.

It is currently unknown, however, exactly how many refugees remain at the site.

Last week a room at the accommodation appeared on, which was spotted by a man who was looking for a hotel when his search led him to the Holiday Inn Express.

Pictures on the listing showed two men wearing camouflage, although their outfits did not feature any identification or affiliation to a specific military group or country.

When contacted by the Gazette, bosses at the IHG Hotels & Resorts group, which owns the Holiday Inn brand, said they were unable to comment on the issue, instead saying it was a matter for the Home Office.

The Home Office, however, said the situation was one for to address, as the contents of the site fall under the travel agency’s responsibility. 

In a statement, a Home Office spokesman said: "The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.   

“We have been clear that the use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £6 million a day.

“The Home Office is committed to making every effort to reduce hotel use and limit the burden on the taxpayer.” 

A spokesman for said: ”We take safety and security very seriously and have a number of checks in place before a property is ever allowed to begin welcoming guests.   

“We also have a team dedicated to detecting and blocking suspicious activity around the clock, with this property swiftly removed from our platform, and we have put in place measures to prevent this property from ever opening again.” 

The identity of the individuals who uploaded the potentially fraudulent listing currently remains unknown, as does the intention behind it.

It is also, therefore, unconfirmed if the accommodation on offer is currently being used by refugees. 

Gazette: Concern - David King, leader of Colchester CounilConcern - David King, leader of Colchester Counil (Image: Newsquest)

David King, leader of Colchester Council, said: “If true as suggested this is vanishingly rare, daft and completely unacceptable. 

“Asylum seekers have rules and boundaries to keep. We expect the Home Office to get a grip and put right swiftly and concentrate on processing claims at pace.” 

The Gazette previously revealed how concerns had been raised over the welfare of the refugees at the hotel, the length of time they were having to stay there, and the quality of food on offer.