STAFF from the troubled car dealership Border Cars have been told that they are facing redundancy.

An email breaking the news to employees was sent to The Cumberland News as the firm’s founder Mike Fusco confirmed that the company is to cease trading.

Border Cars has employed more than 300 people at sites in Carlisle, Workington, and Scotland. A closing down sale was announced this week and staff with company cars have had to hand back the keys.

“It’s been very, very frustrating,” said one worker in Carlisle. “The staff who had company cars no longer have them but they’re still turning up for work and trying to deal with customers face to face.

“But there’s no stock here to sell. Everyone here is greatly downhearted. We’ve been turning up for work not knowing whether we’re going to be paid.”

The man said one of the worst aspects has been a lack of information.

He added: “The lack of communication is an insult on top of what is an already terrible situation.”

But Mr Fusco issued a statement on Wednesday confirming the worst fears of his staff.

He said: “Border Cars maintains an ongoing business relationship with their funders and are currently in talks with two or three potential buyers in order to try and save as many jobs as possible,” he said.

“In recent years, despite the challenging market conditions, both management and staff have worked tirelessly to maintain a profitable business.

“However, with ongoing rising costs, and the tough retail climate for the industry, it is with the greatest of reluctance that we are unable to continue trading. We would like to thank all those employees past and present, who made the business what it was. We would also like to extend our warm appreciation to our many customers who have supported us so loyally.

“To the present group of staff we extend our utmost gratitude.”

Late on Wednesday, the firm’s Human Resources Department sent out an email to staff - it is not clear how many - telling them that they would lose their jobs.

The message said: “We are sorry to announce that the management has taken the decision to wind down the business.

“We have instructed advisors at this time with a view to appointing administrators and we regret to inform you that as a result your contract of employment has been terminated with immediate effect.

“We have tried to tell as many people in person as possible, however have been unable to do so with everyone.”

Facebook posts about the firm included a litany of complaints, with comments such as this from Heather Jayne Sharpe: “I do feel for them losing their jobs, but by the same token I’m not surprised about it either.

“I got one car off them and swore never to go back. The customer service wasn’t the best.”

In May, Brampton man David Short, 80, claims he asked Border Cars to check his Kia Ceed car because a warning light had illuminated on his dashboard. The firm kept the car for a week, diagnosing a faulty turbocharger, and billing him £57.

A week later, he claims Dobies in Workington said the turbocharger was fine. The problem was a missing engine clip, which took 10 minutes to replace and cost 50p.

Border Cars staff have been warned they may have to claim wages, redundancy and holiday pay through the Government.

* Border Motor Group, (with dealerships in Carlisle, Dumfries, and St Boswells, Scotland), has pointed out it has no connection whatsoever to Border Cars.