A landlord who has been forced to close his pub after his electricity bill quadrupled has warned more businesses will go under without Government support.

Alan Marshall pulled his last pint at the Duke of Wellington on Medomsley Road, in Consett, on Sunday, February 12, after 16 years at the helm.

It marks the end of an era for the traditional pub, which must surely have one of the most colourful beer gardens in the region.

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When lockdown restrictions began to ease in summer 2020, Alan spent thousands of pounds on a mural outside honouring the victims of the Covid pandemic as well as soldiers who have given their lives for the country.

The mural also remembers the former steelworks site, which used to dominate the town’s industrial skyline.

The Northern Echo: Alan in his beer garden in 2020 with mural artist Glenn MalpassAlan in his beer garden in 2020 with mural artist Glenn Malpass (Image: Northern Echo)

Alan said the recent cost of living rises mean he can no longer keep the pub open.

He said: “The electricity bills went from £450 a month to over £2,000, it is four times the amount.

“It was impossible to pay, especially when there is Wetherspoons just over the road.

“I have had no option but to liquidate the company.

“With the cost of beer going up it is just going to be impossible for people to trade, and people have just not got the cash to come for a night out.”

Alan invited his regulars in for one last session on February 12 and sold all of the remaining beer at £1 pint.

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Alan said: “I got shot of everything and emptied the barrels. I think the locals were more upset than I was.

“Some of them have been coming here for 50-odd years but they do understand what is happening.

“It is sad but I am not going to be the only one.

“Come March when the Government support runs out there is going to be more, and it will also affect what people pay for fuel in their homes.

“These days people have not got the cash to come out for a drink and unfortunately the good old local is not going to be there anymore.”