DELI owners have been ‘locked out’ of their own shop after a Worcester shopping arcade was shut up because of coronavirus.

Neighbourhood in Reindeer Court was forced to close on March 23 on Government advice. But business owners Matt Haley and Clint Webbe say they provide an essential service, supplying local and homemade food and drink.

The shop is managed by Fisher German and owned by a separate landlord.

Mr Haley said: “We had planned to open in a controlled way, as a collection only point for household essential food items and our already existing specialist foods. That weekend we received communication from the court manager informing us that the court gates would be locked until further notice.”

They were asked if it would be possible for security to open just one gate between certain times ‘but communication was lost from Fisher German and no resolution was found’. They restructured the business to try and keep trading, securing financial support to set up a delivery service. He added: “As such a young company (they opened last November), and with only two of us, it has been very financially difficult to recover. We were also informed by Fisher German that any important business post, would only be able to be collected from a locked part of the court, every Friday. This means that there is up to a week long delay in reading urgent letters.

“Earlier this month we received a letter from a debt collection agency stipulating that we pay an amount due for rent and service charge in advance for March, April and May. This also included a late payment charge of over £500 which was due to us being unable to receive the letter on time. We're also being charged an expensive service charge, for services that aren’t being fulfilled, such as emptying of refuse areas, cleaning and security."

Fisher German was unavailable for comment at the time we went to press.