A self-proclaimed “elite” dating website has removed around 3,000 members because they were "letting themselves go".

Beautiful describes itself as the “largest internet dating community exclusively for the beautiful” and puts people’s photographs to a members’ vote to decide if they are allowed in.

Members of the dating website will receive priority access to the club, while non-members will be assessed on their appearance at the door.

“Rare exceptions will be made on the grounds of wealth,” Hodge added.

The site is also offering advice from “beauty mentors” on how to get back up to the standard.“Letting unattractive people populate the site would compromise the very concept for which Beautiful was founded,” Mr Hodge said.“If their looks aren't up to our members’ exacting standards and they do not secure a majority of positive votes, then their profiles are immediately removed.”Anyone who is found to be failing to maintain their looks is put back through the rating system, where members of the opposite sex only can select options including "yes, definitely", "hmm yes, ok", "no, not really" and "no, definitely not" based on photographs and a brief profile.

Most of the users removed from the site were from the US but more than 550 from the UK also got the chop.

But administrators have now shown that the rigorous 48-hour selection period is not a permanent pass by taking thousands of profiles down, mainly because of weight gain and “graceless ageing”.

Genevieve Hodge, who founded the website with her husband Greg, said: “This may sound harsh, and it is the most difficult part of managing the business.“We take no pleasure in removing members, but it is a necessary evil in order to maintain the beautiful community and our prized business model.”Her husband claimed the website had been “kind” in breaking the news to ditched people with emails encouraging them to apply again when they are “back looking their best”.The website boasts more than 800,000 users from 190 countries and first launched in Denmark 2002, before spreading to the US and UK in 2005.A statement from Beautiful claims it does not attempt to define beauty but “simply gives an accurate representation of what society's ideal of beauty as decided by the members”.Beautiful People then placed the banned billboards on the back of trucks which were driven around New York.In June 2011, Beautiful was attacked by a virus which allowed users to join without going through the mandatory 48 hour voting process.“We will take the same ethos into this project as we did when we launched the dating site.