An east London and Essex bakery chain will close all of its stores after 66 years of business.

Percy Ingle – also known as Ingles – will shut all of its 44 branches by the end of March next year.

The company, which first opened in Clarence Road, Hackney, in 1954, closed all stores at the beginning of March in accordance with government coronavirus guidelines.

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, tweeted he was "sorry to see the chain succumb to the financial pressures of Covid-19.

The chain has stores in Loughton, Chingford, Chigwell, Barkingside, Walthamstow, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, and Ilford.

A spokesperson for the company said: "With a market that is highly competitive, a product that is exceptionally labour intensive to make and a consumer that is highly price conscious it is difficult to see that we would be getting any return on such an investment on top of the many millions of pounds that has already been invested in recent years.

"We understand the decision to close as a substantial shock to our employees, many of whom have been with us for many years and of course we will help them through the closure process as much as we can.

"It is our intention at this stage to close the business in a controlled manner, on a shop by shop basis over the next year, with a final trading date if possible of 31st March 2021."