An Isle of Wight businessman has slammed Wightlink for what he called rude and inconsistent behaviour by staff.

Rob Medway, of Godshill Orchards, said he was shouted at for eating a banana in the lounge of the St Clare ferry on Sunday morning, despite there being no signage saying he could not.

Then, on his return journey, he was stopped from boarding for an alleged 25 pence under payment and despite offering to pay with cash or card.

Wightlink says it has apologised to him and is investigating the incidents.

Rob said he understood all the difficulties of operating safely in the coronavirus pandemic but wanted consistency, clarity and courtesy from staff.

He said: "I am loath to complain but the service I received was unacceptable and steps need to be taken.

"My company has an account and are regular customers.

"I have been travelling less recently though other employees have.

Rob said on the St Clare at 8am he took a banana to eat on board.

"Last time I travelled, food was being served and we could eat on board. I saw no signs and was given nothing to say rules had changed, so I sat on my own in the corner and got out my banana.

"Suddenly, I was being shouted at by an enforcement officers in a yellow coat to 'put your mask on'.

"I asked for an explanation and he turned away. I said please don’t walk away when I am talking to you and he turned and I asked for an explanation as to why there were no signs.

"There was only one sign, at the entrance to the cafe, which read 'this toilet is closed' ."

Rob said he presumed someone was too lazy to put up a proper sign.

"I am a law-abiding citizen and would not deliberately break the rules but they change so frequently it is difficult to keep up.

"I would have expected the employee not to shout at me across the lounge but to come within the permitted distance and politely explain the rule.

"I would like to know who is responsible for staff training."

Rob said his return journey at 4 pm on the St Faith was even worse.

He said he was told he could not get on as there was 25 pence owing on his ticket.

His son had changed his booking for him and he believed that was where the discrepancy lay although his son assured him he had paid in full.

Rob offered 25p cash or to pay by card but he said the man would accept neither.

"He gave me a phone number to try to resolve the matter but no one was answering.

"I was thinking I might miss my ferry. I went back to the kiosk and explained I couldn’t get through.

"The employee told me it could mean I missed my booking.

"When I drove near to the offices another employee shouted at me to move away. Eventually a manager came out of the locked offices and waved me on.

"I did eventually get through and a helpful lady said it was no problem and the policy was that nobody be refused a crossing for a fee of less than £1."

A spokesperson for Wightlink said: "We are sorry Mr Medway had a disappointing experience onboard one of our ferries and have called him to apologise.

"We are looking into what happened on the day he travelled with us and will address the issues he raised.

"We closed our cafes and asked passengers not to eat or drink onboard our ships on January 16.

"This was to ensure face coverings are worn at all times to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"We are sorry there was not a sign explaining this on one of the ferries he used."