MYSTERY surrounds the closure of a landmark pub in Crewe.
The Victoria Hotel in Victoria Street, had advertised promotion evenings to mark the World Cup but closed suddenly.
It is now boarded up and owner Enterprise Inns say the premises, which have been a 'local' to families living in central Crewe as far back as the mid-1800s, will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Former manager Rose Knowles, who now works at the Belle Vue in Crewe, said: 'I left The Vic in May and was surprised to see it boarded up a few days later.
'It was in a poor state of repair and had to compete for custom with the big Wetherspoon's across the road.
'The competition for cheap beer is getting tougher in Crewe. You can even get a cheap pint playing bingo at Mecca.
'But The Vic did have some real characters coming in and its sad to see it looking in such a sorry state now.'
The Mayor of Crewe and Nantwich, Cllr Howard Curran, who has written a book on the history of local pubs, said: 'I wouldn't be surprised if some developer comes along and wants to put flats on the site.
'That's happening with a lot of pubs where the land value is greater than the custom coming in.
'That would be a sorry end to another good local. In its heyday The Victoria would have taken trade from all the terraced streets around.
'Many of those no longer remain, such as Chetwode Street, Sand-bach Street and John Street.
'On the main road from the West of Crewe into town, it would also be busy with passing trade.
'But the town is changing and it will come as no surprise if it doesn't re-open.'
Enterprise Inns, which operates 9,000 outlets across the country, said it would be looking for a new licensee to run The Victoria.
A spokeswoman added: 'We can confirm that the Victoria Hotel is closed for the foreseeable future. We continue to try to find a suitable licensee to take over the lease.'