A Southampton leisure centre has denied claims it is often targeted by thieves despite customers reporting personal belongings regularly going missing.

The Quays Swimming & Diving Complex, in Harbour Parade, has seen repeated thefts from lockers in recent months - with swimmers complaining of poor CCTV and inadequate lighting in corridors.

MP Royston Smith has approached Active Nation, which runs the site, on behalf of a disgruntled customer.

But in response to the MP's questions, the company said thefts at The Quays are "few and far between" and pointed the finger at the Echo for raising awareness of the issue.

In a letter to Mr Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, a spokesperson for Active Nation said: "There have been 2 instances of (theft) over the summer, both of which we are assisting the police with regarding their enquiries.

"Fortunately, these instances are few and far between and this isn't out of the norm, where I think the wider concern has come from is that the Echo have published a story regarding it which has heightened awareness of an issue (incorrectly)."

The Echo made several attempts to contact Active Nation before publishing a report on the thefts earlier this month but received no response. It also received no complaints from the company once the story had been published.

Although Active Nation claim these incidents are rare, angry customers say otherwise.

Bea Upton, 53, a regular user of the centre, said: "There is zero accountability from The Quays and these are high-value thefts which have a strong impact on the victims.

"They have made no attempt to warn customers of these thefts."

A man who had his keys, phone, clothes, medication and bank cards stolen added: “I was told by staff this is very rare but in the five weeks since this happened several similar incidents have occurred.

"They are aware of the CCTV and lighting problems but have done nothing."

Customers are also highlighting the issue on TripAdvisor where the leisure centre has a rating of two stars out of five.

One person commented: "We locked ours with our own padlock and went swimming only to return with our bag gone. Everything stolen. Company really didn’t care and questioned if I knew where I’d left it.

"Strangely the bag was found later in the day back in a locker with phone and wallet stolen. Cards had been hacked and over £1,000 taken from account."