A seaside pub is investigating after three black cyclists were refused a table — moments before white customers were given one.

Teacher Julian Konten, 48, was cycling with two friends, who are also black, when they tried to get a drink at the historic Captain's Wife pub during their bike ride.

But they were told there were no tables free, despite it being seemingly quiet.

Outraged Julian said two white men appeared at the same time as he and his friends left the entrance — and were allowed inside the pub overlooking Sully Island, with staff saying they could only sit two customers on tables of four.

But Julian believes that he and his friends were refused service due to their skin colour and rejected the pub's claim that they were obeying social distancing rules.

He said: "We stopped at the Captain's Wife and asked if we could have a table outside only to be told they were fully booked. This was despite every table outside being empty.

"We informed the two white males who were behind us that they were fully booked inside and outside but asked them to try to get a table.

Julian Konten believes he and his friends were denied a table because they're black

"To our surprise the two white males never came back out. So the three of us went back in only to see the two white males seated at a table for four people.

"I asked the front of house why he didn't offer that table to us and why he was treating us less favourably? His reply was: 'Due to social distancing laws they could only sit two people at a table with four seats because it would be too close to the table opposite'.

"I informed him he was being racist and discriminating us for no other reason other than our race and ethnicity. He dismissed that claim.

"I told him: 'You subconsciously made the decision not to allow us to come into the pub'. I again asked him why he had not offered us another seat and told him he was demonstrating prejudicial traits for no other reason other than the way we looked.

"He then began backtracking by saying it was nothing personal. I informed him that it was personal and that this is was the exact reason why Black Lives Matter exists.

Pub staff at the Captain's Wife dismissed Julian's accusations of racism

"His subconscious bias and internal prejudice had influenced his decision on whether to allow us to have a drink at the Captain's Wife. This was despite the fact we were all dressed in cycling gear and posed no threat.

"This is the exact systemic racism that needs to be eradicated from all sectors - be it education, health, industry or the hospitality and catering industry.

"Not only have they taken our self-respect, they've taken our dignity as well. Nobody should ever have to feel that way."

Julian and friends Dale Miller and Chris Harper - on a 25-mile cycle from Cardiff when they stopped at the pub - said there was more than enough room to safely seat them on a table while maintaining social distancing.

A spokesman for owners Vintage Inns said they were investigating the racism claims.

He said: "We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and do not tolerate any kind of abuse taking place within our pub.

Vintage Inns, which owns The Captain's Wife, says social distancing policy was behind the decision
Vintage Inns, which owns The Captain's Wife, says social distancing policy was behind the decision

"We re-opened this weekend for the first time since lockdown and are operating under new Covid-secure measures, which include reduced numbers allowed to sit at tables to help our guests and team social distance within the pub.

"However, we are investigating the guest's claims with the team and will be reaching out to discuss this with the guests involved.

"We pride ourselves on being a welcoming, open and friendly pub and we're really sorry that the three guests have left feeling this wasn't the case when they visited."