A POPULAR shop is being given away after failing to secure a buyer.

Castle News in Malton has been on the market for nearly two years and despite interest being shown the business has yet to sell.

Now owner Mike Williams said that he was prepared to give the newsagents away to secure the business and prevent the loss of seven jobs.

Mike said: “I have had some interest but no firm offers so I am now prepared to give away the business free as a going concern.

“I will be finishing at the end of March and want to see the shop continue. After over 33 years it is time to retire and spend more time with my family and grandchildren.”

Mike said he also hoped to spend more time with his daughter, Sophie, who is in care home in Wales after contracting Japanese encephalitis while undertaking research in China four years ago.

“It is a long drive over to Wales so retiring will allow me to see Sophie more often,” he said.

“My father owned a newsagents and I worked in the newspaper industry for over 20 years, including national salesman for Associated Newspapers, so papers have always been a part of my life.”

Mike said although the sale of newspapers has declined, the shop has diversified to meet those challenges.

“We have just had the best three years in the past 12 and it is still a profitable business.

“At one time newspapers and magazines accounted for 70 per cent of business and despite the decline in sales, still account for around 50 per cent.

“We are also doing well in other areas such as the sale of Ryedale District Council parking permits, UPS parcel service and drinks and confectionary,” he said.

“We also have a very strong delivery base supplying papers all over Malton and Norton. The shop remains a strong business and I would be more than happy to give it away if someone is prepared to take it on.”

Anyone who would like more information should phone Mark Stephensons Estate and Letting Agents on 01653 692500.