Falling stock numbers and a dramatic rise in running costs has led Harrison & Hetherington to bid farewell to Broughton-in-Furness Auction Centre - but mart directors say no decision has yet been taken about its future.

After almost 19 years serving southwest Cumbria, leading Carlisle livestock auctioneers, Harrison & Hetherington announced its last sale at the mart would be the Annual Christmas Show on Monday, December 11.

The centre has been used for regular commercial and annual sales, as well as operating as a sheep collection centre.

The board of directors are now understood to be considering their options for the future, but no decision to close has been made.

Significant milestones have been achieved over the years, including the Annual Autumn Show and Sale of Herdwick Rams on behalf of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association, which last year witnessed remarkable centre records, when a shearling tup fetched an astounding 10,000 guineas and a pen of five ewes sold at £400 per head, both from renowned breeder AJ Hartley of Turner Hall.

Scott Donaldson, Managing Director of H&H said as a company they hoped to maintain the relationships they had forged with the Herdwick breeders.

He added that the decision had not been taken lightly and cited 'falling stock numbers, and the dramatic increased in running costs', for the decision.

"It has been a real privilege to have been involved with Broughton Mart and the customers from this beautiful corner of Southwest Cumbria, together with the Herdwick Breeders, who have loyally supported these sales over the years, and as a company we hope to maintain these relationships," he said.