COCKERMOUTH businesses have issued a heartfelt message to their many loyal customers.

The town's chamber of trade said: "These are words that we never thought we would write but we are asking everyone to follow Government advice at this terrible time - stay at home and don't come into Cockermouth other than making essential visits to get food, medicine or for appointments with health professionals.

"If you need help please do contact Cockermouth Emergency Response Group on 07852 599794.

"It’s breaking our hearts to say this. This town has been through so much in the last decade and you have proved your amazing resilience time after time.

"Cockermouth will thrive again if we work together, as soon as we are able, to make that happen.

"In the meantime, please follow the Government instructions and please stay safe.

"Cockermouth and District Chamber of Trade has always encouraged residents and visitors alike to support our lovely town – to shop local, to use the independent businesses, and to explore all the attractions we have to offer. But to do so now would put lives at risk."