COLOMBO – Sri Lankan police today arrested three British women who were found socialising in the hotel rooms of West Indies cricketers.

Police bodyguards protecting players at the ongoing World Twenty20 arrested the three Britons at the deluxe Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo and handed them over to the nearby police station for further investigations.

“Ministerial Security Division guards assigned to protect the players carried out the arrest and the three women were handed over to the Kollupitiya police station for further investigations,” police said in a statement.

Hotel sources said the women were guests of Chris Gayle and his team-mates Andre Russell, Fidel Edwards and Dwayne Smith. The sources insisted there was no breach of security at the tightly-guarded seventh floor reserved for players and team officials.

“There was no wrongdoing on the part of the players or the women and we are surprised at the police action,” a hotel source who declined to be named said. “It is not against the law to be a guest of a player.” There was no immediate comment from the ICC or the West Indies team which will play Australia in the semi-finals on Friday.

Police sources said they were awaiting instructions from the International Cricket Council, the organisers of the World Twenty20, to establish if they should press charges. West Indies media manager, Philip Spooner, said the matter had been dealt with.

“As far as the West Indies team is concerned, there was an incident that was handled by the police. It is being reported as a Chris Gayle issue. It is not a Chris Gayle issue. The matter was dealt with by the police and it is now closed. Our focus is strictly on cricket and our next assignment is the semi-finals on Friday,” Spooner said.

On September 24, a Sri Lankan broke into the rooms of two Australian cricketers at the same hotel and offered them sex. He was fined 1,000 rupees (around eight dollars) and handed a one-month suspended jail term. The ICC had described it as a “minor isolated incident”.

The authorities had declared floors occupied by cricketers as out-of-bounds as part of security for players during the September 18 – October 7 tournament that was billed as the same level as for visiting heads of state. Hotel security has been a key issue at international cricket tournaments since then-Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his room during the World Cup in Jamaica in 2007. His death was initially treated as a murder case before police concluded he died of natural causes.

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