THE former head of Penrith Farmers’ and Kidd’s antiques auction department has joined Mitchells in Cockermouth to run their town centre saleroom.

Michael Roberts will work alongside existing director Mark Wise who, after more than 30 years at the helm, had been looking for a suitable successor to enable him to move to a more part-time position.

He said of Michael's appointment: “I am very much looking forward to working with him and helping take the business to the next level.

"I will be remaining on Mitchells’ board of directors and will still maintain an active role in the business concentrating particularly on the major antiques and fine art sales”.

Michael had been at PFK for five years and before that a director at The Canterbury Auction Galleries for 10 years.

He said: “I am excited to be heading up Mitchells and to have the opportunity to further develop their excellent business.

"Succeeding Mark Wise will be a tough act to follow but I’m confident in my ability to further fine-tune this much-loved institution.

"I am a great believer in offering a comprehensive auction service and while I shall maintain and enhance Mitchells’ strong reputation for fine art and antiques, I will also work on growing the business from house clearances up and nurturing popular specialist sale categories such as watches, wine and mid-century furniture, as well as developing timed online sales. I am looking forward to the business being a leading auction force across northern Britain.”

PFK have now closed their antiques auction department as part of a wider restructuring and have agreed a referral deal with Mitchells for all valuations, contents sales and house clearance instructions.