A SALTCOATS man has been forced to close down his laser tag complex and soft play centre, with 24 workers losing their jobs.

Chris Glancey and his younger brother Tom pulled the plug on their popular Funworld and Laser Matrix in Greenock because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Over the years thousands have flocked to the soft play centre and laser tag arena within the Fort Matilda Industrial Estate, with some customers who went as kids now bringing their own families.

The brothers took over the business from local entrepreneur Sharon Murdoch in 2017 and say they were doing well until COVID-19 forced them to call a halt in March.

They have now decided it will not reopen.

Chris, 31, said: “We are truly gutted we’ve had to close the doors of both Funworld and Laser Matrix.

“We just couldn’t see how it would be possible to open as this virus has brought every area of our business to its knees.

“A big part of our business is the school holidays, they keep us going but we’ve missed both the Easter break and the full summer.

“We couldn’t socially distance adults, wouldn’t be able to host kids’ parties and wouldn’t be able to operate at full capacity.

“Our business was able to open in phase three, but we wanted to put the health and safety of both staff, customers and their children first.

“All it would take was one person to come in with coronavirus and then that could be over 200 people infected.”

The owners say the decision has been taken with one month before the furlough scheme unwinds, in the hope that staff can plan for the future.

Of the 24 staff, many of the younger employees were students working part-time and weekend shifts but others depended on the business as their main source of income.

So far, two people — the chef and cafe manager — have secured new jobs, but Chris says he is hopeful that someone could step in and reopen the facility.

He said: “It was so difficult explaining the circumstances to staff, but everyone was extremely understanding.

“It is a community staple and we’ve had hundreds of thousands of children through the doors over the years, with some of them even going on to bring their own children to both Funworld and Laser Matrix.

“We would love for someone to step in and save the business as it is a terrible loss to the area.”.

The entrepreneurs say they are now planning to open an ice-cream shop in Glasgow.

Chris added: “We are very sad at this difficult decision. We’d like to thank the wonderful staff who’ve worked here.”