RACIST, offensive and derogatory comments about customers were made by staff at a Ryde gym.

Comments, made on a private Facebook group chat by staff at Evolution Gym, were seen by personal trainer Rebecca Barton when she was mistakenly added to the group.

She took about 500 screenshots — many of which have been seen by the County Press — and informed the police.

One man was described as pie-man, and another was described by gym owner Matthew Ward as 'matey who looks like he's gona bomb the gaff, thin beard, dark skin, Arab looking.'

Mr Ward confirmed there were offensive comments made and said staff had been severely reprimanded.

The screenshots show comments were made by Mr Ward and personal trainers Michael Cooper and Richard Ward.

Miss Barton, who said offensive comments were also made about her, said: "As a personal trainer myself, I don't find this fair on the clients involved.

"When you think members of the public are paying their wage and this is how they treat them, that's why I have gone public.

"I felt like a victim, I think it is horrendous.

"The people they help in the gym are sometimes quite vulnerable so I thought it was shocking.

"I think people need to be made aware of it. People don't want to go to the gym to be made fun of."

One man, who has suffered health problems throughout his life, saw comments about him.

He said: "I think it is bang out of order. They should never slate their customers, it's so wrong on so many levels."

There was a confrontation in the street between Miss Barton and one staff member from the gym.

Miss Barton remains upset that no police action has been taken over the messages.

A police spokesperson confirmed: “There was an allegation of malicious communications in July, 2018, which was reported to us on 27 March 2019, and a public order incident on Ryde High Street on March 26, 2019, where no-one was hurt.

"These matters are connected to other ongoing investigations and it would not be appropriate to comment further while enquiries are being carried out.

“We would advise anyone who is unhappy with police response to utilise our formal complaints process by calling 101."

Roach Pittis solicitors, acting for Mr Ward, said: "It is accepted by our client that some unfortunate (and historic) comments were made by some members of staff about Miss Barton in a group chat but our client took immediate action upon becoming aware by disciplining relevant staff and offering Miss Barton a six-month free membership as an apology."

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