LAST orders have been called at a popular South Shields pub and live music venue, to the shock of distressed staff and regulars.

The Turks Head, in Green's Place, officially closed a week ago after more than 20 years as one the borough's best-loved music venues.

The news has devastated the pub's regulars as well as hundreds of music fans and musicians throughout the north east.

Citiesmedia Ltd, owner of the watering hole, has blamed the closure on problems caused by restrictions placed on the pub because of complaints by local residents that its nightly live music caused too much noise and had become a nuisance.

But, directors have vowed to not to let its memory fade and keep the spirit of the Turks Head alive, relocating to a new venue in the town in the near future.

Tony Schofield, co-director, said: "It is with great regret that the directors of Citiesmedia Ltd announce the closure of the Turks Head.

"Aware of the limitations of the pub in staging music events, the directors had obtained a justices' on-licence and planning permission to re-open the currently derelict Mile End Club as a public house specialising in live music.

"A condition of the planning permission was that the Turks Head must close, since the success of the venue had caused noise and nuisance problems for local residents.

"It had been hoped that the Turks Head could have remained open until the new pub opened, thereby safeguarding the jobs of the staff.

"However, trade has suffered significantly due to a combination of restrictions imposed on the playing of live music at the premises and dissatisfaction amongst some regular customers with the proposed plans.

"It has therefore become uneconomic to keep the pub open until the opening of the new one."

Mr Schofield added: "The premises will be converted to a new, non-entertainment use which will depend on what permission can be obtained.