A TAKEAWAY boss said he has been forced to close after the pandemic and false child grooming claims made it 'very hard to survive'.

Shamim Chowdhury, director of Barrow Indian Cuisine has closed his Cavendish Street takeaway for the final time after falling behind with his rent.

He said the 'financial hit' caused by Coronavirus and a fall in customers because of the false allegations on social media meant he was unable to pay rent.

“We became very popular within a very short period of time for our excellent food and customer service,” said Mr Chowdhury, who is from Birmingham.

“On Google we are the top rated restaurant in town with the highest 4.8 star review.”

But sadly the financial pressures were too much and the building’s landlord evicted the business from the property on October 23.

“We couldn’t pay rent because so many incidents have happened,” said Mr Chowdhury.

“Firstly Covid-19 completely locked us down, then the second wave was coming.”

Mr Chowdhury said he had tried asking his landlord for more time to raise the cash for rent, but to no avail.

“We asked the landlord to give us extra time,” he said.

“Maybe a better time would come by Christmas.

“But they did not want to wait.”

Staff at Barrow Indian Cuisine were among four local takeaways who were at the centre of social media allegations earlier this year, which alleged they were part of a grooming gang.

All of the takeaway owners, including Mr Chowdhury, firmly denied the allegations and spoke out about how the false claims and abuse had impacted their businesses and them personally.

Cumbria Police said there was no evidence of a grooming gang operating in Barrow and the takeaway employees were not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Following the social media storm, Mr Chowdhury worked hard to keep his business going and then the Coronavirus pandemic hit.

He said he even provided free meals to NHS staff during the lockdown.

The businessman has spoken warmly about the support he has received from local residents and expressed his regret at leaving the town.

He said: “We have been thankful for all the support and love from our customers and well wishers, they have been amazing throughout our very short journey.

“I never thought our journey in Barrow-in-Furness would end within a year.

“We will really miss lovely Barrow. The town and its people are amazing.”