THE owners of a popular Sixties-themed cafe in Colchester town centre say they are “devastated” after being forced to close the business.

Back to the 60s, which was decked out with Mod memorabilia including Vespa scooters, closed its Priory Walk premises for the final time on Sunday.

The café was a joint venture between former caretaker Dean Walker and his partner Lynda Street, both lovers of Sixties culture and music.

The business used to host scooter meets and regular tribute shows dedicated to some of the decade’s biggest stars.

It was a firm favourite among the town’s shoppers.

Mr Walker: “We took on the shop in February last year through a franchise.

“We were paying rent of £23,500 a year which is £450 a week.

“In that part of town it meant we were struggling and losing money hand over fist. I never took a wage from the place and neither did my partner.

“Business was picking up and we were getting there with more and more customers starting to come.

“We were doing our best but because of the amount we were paying out we had no option but to close.”

Mr Walker invested more than £100,000 in converting the premises, giving it a Sixties theme, installing things like new flooring, lighting and shutters.

He said: “I had an accident four years ago and broke both my heels and I got a pay out from the company I worked for.

“I spent all that money and now I am penniless.

“I ended up owing lots of people money which is not how I wanted to do things. I am in debt and I may have to go bankrupt.”

The couple say they built up a strong rapport with their regular customers and were extremely sorry to have to tell them the bad news.

Mr Walker said: “People loved the place and it is such a shame.

“Obviously it was a business but we provided a service for people, especially some of our elderly customers.

“We had regulars including a lot of people who are lonely who were crying when we said we were shutting.

“I have to say a big thank you to all of our customers. We are devastated to close.

“We are really sorry about what has happened but it was out of our control.”

Piatto restaurant and cafe in Priory Walk also closed last month.

READ MORE: Colchester's Back to the 60s cafe closes down