UK gym chain Virgin Active has been caught out after falsely warning its members that undercover police officers would be patrolling locker rooms.
The Virgin Active gym in Barbican, London emailed members this month warning them of “reports of incidents linked to individuals’ inappropriate behaviour, specific to the male locker room facilities.”
The gym said it was employing undercover cops as a result and they would “address and investigate any criminal behaviour.”
“They will take any appropriate action should the need arise,” the email read.
But London Police told Buzzfeed no such arrangement existed between the department and the gym chain and Virgin Active was lying to its members.
“We haven’t put undercover officers into the changing rooms of this gym, or any other gym in the city,” a spokesperson said.
“We became aware of this email sent out to members by Virgin and have asked them to issue a correction. I believe they are going to do imminently.”
One disgruntled member told Buzzfeed the gym’s policy harkened back to “1950s honey traps in men’s toilets all over again.”
Such patrols would be a waste of police resources, he said.
“It’s disgraceful that they lied. [It] undermines any reassurance they have given as being supportive of the LGBT community,” the member said.
But a spokesperson for Virgin Active denied the gym had lied to customers.
Instead, the spokesperson said there had been “a miscommunication between Virgin Active and [London Police] which has now been clarified.”
“We’ll carry on working closely with police to ensure our members continue to be in a safe environment,” they said.
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