A SOMERSET prison believed to be the most haunted place in Britain is closing in the new year.

The owners and management company of Shepton Mallet Prison, which is scheduled to close on January 2, blame each for the decision.

A post on Facebook said: "We are deeply saddened to share that Shepton Mallet Prison is scheduled to close on 2nd January 2024.

"This heartbreaking decision comes after years of dedication to preserving this historic site.

"CEO of Cove Group, which has managed the prison since 2017, Joel Campbell explained that their efforts to secure the prison's future were met with obstacles and a lack of support from the prison’s owners City & Country, leading to this heart-wrenching decision.

"The closure will impact our dedicated team and the entire community who have embraced us.

"There are just a few weeks left to visit Shepton Mallet Prison before its doors close forever."

In a statement, Mr Campbell added: "This is an incredibly sad time for myself and our amazing team at Shepton Mallet Prison.

"This now marks the end of our chapter in the prison's long story.

"We hope those that have not been yet will visit us in these remaining weeks, to walk the corridors one last time, and to remember the importance of preserving our past for the sake of our future."

He said Cove Group had invested more than £1million into the prison despite "a disheartening lack of support from City & Country", which had hampered "our efforts to secure a future for the prison through direct purchase", with "resistance and unreasonable financial demands, especially concerning property insurance costs that far exceed the market rate".

A City & Country told the BBC: "The lease with SG Prisons is one where they pay no rent but pay the insurance costs and ensure that the buildings do not deteriorate.

"Discussions have taken place with the Cove Group regarding a possibility of agreeing terms for a sale. However we were unaware that these discussions had come to an end as we were expecting a proposal from them.

"Whilst we are happy to listen to proposals they wish to make we cannot allow the listed buildings to be put in jeopardy.

"City & Country have not taken action to terminate the lease for failing to implement the insurers requirements. However we have made it known that this is a course we may be forced to take due to their failure to comply with their lease obligations."

Meanwhile ghost hunter Tony Ferguson contacted us expressing his sadness at the closure of "one of the most haunted places in the UK" is to close down.

He said: "The prison is due to close...purely through a disagreement between the owners and the operators which I feel could surely be prevented.

"Not only will this result in the loss of many jobs, but the public will lose a great tourist attraction where many future generations can come to learn about the history of the prison.

"It will greatly affect the paranormal community who spend many a night trying to communicate with former inmates to find out why they still reside in the jail."

Mr Ferguson said on one occasion he captured "a full apparition that appeared out of nowhere and just walked off", while an investigator from Lost Souls collapsed to the ground in agony and had to be dragged out of the chapel area where it happened.

He has also heard doors slamming and a cat ball lifted off the ground.

He added: "I only hope that a solution can be found and that the prison can be kept open and continue to give many people a great day out full of history and continue to host events for the paranormal community."