A BELOVED independent chocolate shop which was forced to leave town has returned for the run up to Christmas.

Minerva officially reopened in a new High Street location on Wednesday, much to the delight of sweet-toothed Colcestrians.

The family-run business, owned by Alan and Madeleine Edwards, closed its Eld lane shop late last year after decades in the town due to declining sales and difficult retail conditions.

However last month it was announced the owners planned to open again in the run up to the festive period.

Mr Edwards said: "We have had a wonderful reception from the people of Colchester so far.

"It has to be said we have had so much good will from people in the town. It is lovely to see as the owner."

Although plans are not certain, if this year's Christmas opening is successful, the shop could return again next year.

Mr Edwards said: "It is quite amazing and exciting for us as we will be seeing old friends.

"Some of of our customers have been coming in for 30 years."

"Things in retail are not easy out there but we are fairly optimistic about things."

Minerva will be open Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm up until January 10.

In addition, the shop will also open on special occasions, such as the Christmas events in the town centre.

The shop is located in the old currency exchange shop underneath the Red Lion Hotel.

For more information visit Facebook and search Minerva Chocolates.