Regular Wilko customers have expressed their horror at the 'devastating' losses of two stores closing for good.

Branches in Bishop Auckland and Newton Aycliffe have had their last day of trade today (September 12).

Pictures from the stores reveal bare shelves as the popular shops were swarmed by last-minute customers.

One shopper described how the closure made her think "it's worse than during the war".

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Richard Garfield has been a regular visitor to the Bishop Auckland Wilko store and he explained how sorry he was for all the workers losing their jobs.

The Northern Echo: Wilko in Bishop Auckland last day open

He said: "It's just devastating.

"I walked around and it is upsetting.

"I'm sorry for all the people in there losing their jobs.

The Northern Echo: Bare Wilko shelves

"The local economy is struggling as it is. Hopefully, B&M take over more stores."

An elderly shopper, who wished to remain anonymous, described how the situation in Bishop Auckland reminded her of when Woolworths closed.

She said: "It's just a real shame. It's the same as when Woolworths closed all their stores.

The Northern Echo: Bare Wilko shelves

"It's been here a long time. I feel for the people who work there who will be losing their jobs.

"Times are hard as it is. It's worse than it was during the war."

Jill Wilkinson vented her frustration at the state of the high street in Bishop Auckland and the upcoming bus station.

The Northern Echo: Bare Wilko shelves

She said: "The high street is becoming a disgrace.

"People that have lived here all their lives have seen a steady decline.

"There's nothing left in the town. They are building a bus station but what is the point if there is nothing to come in to do?"

The Wilko store in Newton Aycliffe will also be shutting for good at the end of the day. 

Arthur Robinson left the shop for the last time and described the situation as 'ridiculous'.

The Northern Echo: Bare Wilko shelves

He said: "There seems to have been no attempt to keep some of the stores open. 

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"All of the recent announcements have been waves of closures.

"Everybody likes Wilkos. It just makes you think what will be next?

"In five years Newton Aycliffe will be a ghost town."