Evans Cycles Martlesham store locked in lease dispute

Image caption,
The Martlesham Heath branch of Evans is on Anson Road, just off the A12

The premises of an Evans Cycles store has been reclaimed by its landlord in a dispute over its lease.

Store workers were apparently locked out of the building in Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, and a "notice of forfeiture" was put on the door.

It said the landlord LondonMetric Saturn "peaceably re-entered" the building "in accordance with the landlord's power under the lease".

Evans owner Frasers Group has been approached by the BBC for comment.

The Martlesham Heath store is understood to be the only one affected.

Image caption,
The notice of forfeiture on the door has been placed on the door of the building

The notice on the door warned "the former tenant" Evans "you may not enter this building" and referred the firm to LondonMetric's solicitors Stephenson Harwood LLP.

The law firm said it would not provide further comment.

Evans Cycles was taken over by retail billionaire Mike Ashley's Frasers Group - formerly Sports Direct - in 2018.

In April, The Sunday Times reported LondonMetric was preparing legal proceedings against Frasers Group over an unpaid rent bill at the Martlesham store.

According to the report, Frasers had offered to pay just 50% of the rent due there.

You might also be interested in:

People who witnessed the store staff locked outside on Tuesday morning took to social media.

One woman wrote: "Went past @EvansCycles Martlesham branch this morning, staff and customers outside with eviction notice on the door? This time of year too, how awful."

Another said: "Went to pick up my items at the Martlesham branch only to find an eviction notice on the store's front door and all of their poor employees standing outside."

The Martlesham branch of Evans, on Anson Road just off the A12, opened in 2018 and shares the LondonMetric-owned site with Topps Tiles and Wickes.

The British Property Federation said it did not seem to be a wider issue.

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk