Troubled car dealership Lookers has closed its Volkswagen dealership in Carlisle in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company announced late on Monday evening that all of its showrooms and service departments would close temporarily to “to protect the welfare of our employees and customers”.

In a message to customers Lookers said it must “honour” latest Government guidelines on non-essential travel and social distancing and “do everything we can to protect our community and to reduce the further spread of the virus”.

Customers due to take delivery of new vehicles are being contacted directly to complete their transaction in the next few days, it said, adding that all existing bookings will be cancelled and rescheduled once its showrooms reopen.

The move comes during a turbulent time for the company.

Earlier this month Lookers announced it was pushing back the publication of its annual financial results by more than a month while it undertakes an investigation into “potentially fraudulent transactions in one of its operating divisions”.

Will now publish its financial results for the year ending December 31, 2019 in late April while external advisors “lead a full investigation into the matter”.

A day earlier it confirmed chief operating officer Cameron Wade had resigned with immediate effect after a little over a month in the role.

Lookers has already described 2019 as challenging, but says it is confident for the long-term prospects of the business.

The company issued a profit warning in July last year and is currently subject to an official investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority into its sales processes between January 1, 2016 and June 13, 2019.