A MUCH-LOVED takeaway says it has been left with no other choice but to close its doors for good.

BeFries in West Street, Brighton, made the shock announcement on its website over the weekend.

The site has been open since 2016 and in that time it has won many fans for its combination of Belgian fries and generous helpings of homemade sauces.

As a result, BeFries boasted a blemish-free five-star rating on TripAdvisor from 536 reviews.

But owners said it would be closing due to it being “impossible” to keep up with high rent, business rates and VAT”.

In a statement, owners Ezda, Dashal and Chan said: “With the deepest of sadness, we have been unable to resolve the situation with our premises, and have no choice but to close BeFries.

“We have put everything into our business and have loved every minute of it.

“We have been lucky enough to work with the most wonderful passionate staff.

“We honestly cannot thank each and everyone of them enough for all their hard work and support they have given us over the years.

“We’ve had the pleasure to work with lovely suppliers, incredibly talented photographers, videographers and designers, and had some amazing collaborations and huge support from the hospitality industry in Brighton.

“It really has been an honour to work with such talented and passionate people along the way.

“We set out to deliver one product the best we could (sic) whilst offering warm and friendly service, leaving people with a memorable experience.

“In recent months it has become increasingly difficult to meet all the costs that come with running BeFries.

“In the current climate it has become impossible for us to stay up to date with rent, rates and vat and unfortunately there is very little give in these areas.

“We hope we don’t lose any more small independent and unique businesses that make up the heart and soul of our city.

“Most of all we will miss our fantastic customers, you have all made this journey so special for us.

“BeFries has become our lives for the past four years and it is because of every one of you that makes this a heartbreaking time for us.

“We really can’t thank you enough for your support, friendship, love and custom over the years.

“For now, it is goodbye, and the biggest of thank yous from all the BeFries family.

“We hope to see you all in the not too distant future.”

The Argus recently carried out an investigation into the number of empty stores in Brighton and Hove after shoppers described the sight of so many barren lots as “devastating”.

Research showed that, in the year leading up to March, 665 business units were vacant with the council set to lose £2.9 million in income as a result.

But Brighton and Hove City Council said the city remains in a “healthy position as a place for business compared with many other areas of the country”.

A spokeswoman said: ““Business rates are set by the Government and administered by local authorities.

“We have far fewer empty retail properties and eateries than the national average.

“Out of the 4,014 properties on our register, currently only 196 are empty.”