DOZENS of jobs have been lost after one of the South-West’s best known butchers’ chains went into administration, forcing the closure of five of its stores.

The family firm of Gerald David Butchers, founded in West Somerset in 1969, had eight branches across Devon and Somerset, including shops in Dulverton, Topsham and Taunton.

It also ran a mobile unit which appeared at event such as the Bath & West Show and the Devon County Show.

David Kirk, of administrators Kirk Hills, who are handling the situation, said: “Hopefully, we’ll find a buyer, which would mean at least some of the jobs can be saved.”

Three of the shops have been kept open, but it is believed that more than 50 people have been made redundant across the business.

Mr Kirk declined to give any further information about the circumstances surrounding the administration of the firm, but one former emp-loyee who wished to remain anonymous said: “There were rumours flying around, so I messaged one of the family members and he messaged back saying I’d been made redundant.

“I suspected something was wrong a while back.”

Members of the public said they saw the Dulverton store being cleared out last week.

The staff member said: “Who knows when we’ll see any type of redundancy payment, and all in the run-up to Christmas.”