Visitors to Travelodge's 500 hotels will no longer find a copy of the Bible in their room   Reuters

One of Britain's biggest hotel chains has removed Bibles from its rooms to avoid upsetting non-Christians, despite receiving no complaints from guests.

The decision by Travelodge has been condemned as "tragic and bizarre" by the Church of England, which says Bibles are important to provide "hope and comfort" to travellers in hotel rooms.

But the chain, which runs 500 hotels across the UK, says it is removing the Christian holy book in response to the country becoming "increasingly multicultural" and states the decision is based on "diversity reasons".

The new policy has been implemented "in order not to discriminate against any religion", Travelodge said.

A copy of the Bible will be held behind reception and will be available to customers who request it.

Bibles in hotel rooms are provided at no cost by the Gideon Society, which distributes the religious tome free all over the world.

Travelodge is the first national hotel chain to withdraw Bibles – although in 2012 one independent hotel, the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite, Cumbria, replaced them with the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.

Other hotel firms, including Britain's largest budget hotel company, Premier Inn, and InterContinental Hotels, owners of the Holiday Inn chain, say Bibles are being retained at their hotels. A Premier Inn spokesman said: "Bibles are available in Premier Inn rooms.

"On the rare occasion that a customer does not wish to have a Bible in their room, they can request this to be removed ahead of their stay by contacting the hotel directly."