STAFF at the Billericay branch of film rental store Blockbuster are amongst 800 employees across the country facing redundancy.

Deloitte, which became join administrators to Blockbuster after it fell into financial difficulty last month, confirmed that 164 stores are set to shut in the next few weeks as part of a phased closure.

Other stores across south Essex- including those in Westcliff, Leigh, Rayleigh, Basildon and Stanford-le-Hope- will remain open whilst administrators continue negotiations with potential bidders.

Lee Manning, spokesperson for Deloitte, said: “We have continued to review the performance of individual stores since our appointment a month ago and have concluded that further closures are necessary in order to restructure the company for sale. We would like to thank the company’s employees for their support and professionalism during this difficult time and we are also grateful for the continued support of customers. We are in discussions with a number of parties interested in purchasing all or parts of the business and will update on progress in due course.”

An employee helpline has been set up to support staff from the store in Billericay High Street and the other 163 affected, whilst an employee assistance programme will help them find new jobs.