Mum’s shock after men break into Scarborough hotel room

The hotel window through which two men climbed while Zara Gillibrand and her five-year-old son were in bed
The hotel window through which two men climbed while Zara Gillibrand and her five-year-old son were in bed

A woman has spoken of her family’s terrifying ordeal after two men broke into their Scarborough hotel room through the window while they were in bed.

Zara Gillibrand, 43, from Chesterfield, was in bed with her five-year-old son at the Royal Hotel when she noticed two men climbing into their fourth-floor room.

The Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel

She said: “I just began screaming and shouting.

“We don’t know what they were wanting. But my son was there so abduction also crossed my mind.”

was another thing crossing my mind.” Zara and husband Robert Dunks, 44, had enjoyed a meal at the bar of the St Nicholas Street hotel with their son before mother and child went to bed at 9.30pm. Zara was alarmed at around 11pm when she heard voices and the curtains bulging in front of the sash window.

Zara, who owns a printing shop, said: “I couldn’t believe what was happening.

“I started shouting while I grabbed my son and headed for the door. We were stood out in the corridor while I called my husband, who was downstairs.”

The men fled back through the window and left the couple shocked while the pair’s son was hysterical.

The men are said to have gone through a fire alarmed door, which did not activate, and along a fire escape before climbing over to the room Zara and her son were in.

The parents raised concerns with hotel staff as to why the window did not have a lock and have restrictor screws to prevent it from being fully opened.

The family requested to change rooms while their son was unwell from the incident and was ill throughout the night.

Zara said: “My son would not settle in the new room and was very sick. I never slept at all that night because I was upset by the experience.”

Their son remained ill on the Saturday with the family spending just an hour out of the hotel when they went down to South Bay.

They family then stayed in their third hotel room for their second and final night, with Zara summing up their holiday as a “hell of a weekend”.

She said: “We are lucky because 10 minutes before the incident, I had been in the bathroom so our son would have been in the room alone. Anything could have happened. It will take us a long time to get over this incident and I just don’t want the same happening to any other family.

“Our son has been left devastated and it certainly ruined our weekend in Scarborough.”

An environmental health practitioner has visited the hotel since and confirmed a window opening restrictor screws in the slider have been fitted, restricting the opening to 100mm.

Britannia Hotels, which operates Scarborough’s Royal Hotel, did not respond to requests to comment on the incident.

In an email sent to Zara, Britannia Hotels area manager Simon Powell, said: “May I first of all apologise for the shortcomings you experienced at The Royal.

“We have of course co-operated fully with the police in any investigations they are carrying out and going forwards continue to assist in any of the previously mentioned authority’s investigations.

“I would like to assure you that this is the first time an incident such as this has happened at the hotel, and although I appreciate it may not be of comfort now, all procedures are being reviewed.

“As a gesture to restore your faith in the Britannia Group, I would like to offer a full refund for the cost of your accommodation at the property.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police received a report of someone trying to break into a hotel room at the Royal Hotel, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, at around 11.40pm on Friday February 24.

“The incident happened shortly after 11pm, when a female guest at the hotel saw men trying to get through the window of the room.

“Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at the time or who has any information is asked to contact police on 101. Please quote reference number 12170032243 when passing on any information.”