The future of a pub is in question after its popular landlord suddenly quit.

Bob Brookes, licensee of the Half Brick in Brighton Road, Worthing, blamed “swingeing” increases in rent and beer costs.

Mr Brookes, 60, said he tried to buy the seafront hostelry from Punch Taverns but could not afford the £900,000 price-tag.

The Half Brick became Worthing's most popular private live music venue after Bob and his wife Sue took over.

Bob said they would be leaving following the last gig today.

Punch Taverns could not say what would happen, but pledged: “We shall make every effort to ensure the pub does not need to close.”

Bob, singer and harmonica player with the Desperate Dan Band, said in a statement: “It is with great regret that we are leaving the Half Brick for pastures new.

“It was not a decision taken lightly, but owing to the stringent rent and the escalating cost of beer imposed upon us by Punch Taverns it has become impossible for us to maintain the status quo.

“We have even tried to purchase the pub but they want a ridiculous £900,000 and we cannot stretch to that.”

Bob urged music lovers not to despair.

He said: “We have made arrangements for the bulk of the ticket events to go to the Empress suite at Connaught Leisure opposite the pier.

“Thank you all for your wonderful support for us and the pub.”

A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said: “We have offered support to our licensee at the Half Brick, including a rent concession.

“We remain committed to the future of the pub and preserving its place at the heart of the local community."

The original Half Brick, dating back to around 1835, was situated further south than its existing location when Worthing boasted a saltgrass common.

The hostelry was damaged by a storm in 1850, and all but washed away in February 1869, before being rebuilt in 1874.

While it remains uncertain whether the Half Brick will close or not, a series of other Worthing pubs have failed over the past 18 months.

The list includes the Egremont, Brighton Road; the Montague, Montague Street; Yates's, Chapel Road; the Eden bar, Chapel Road; and the Rest, Bath Place.

Do you support your local pub? Tell us your thoughts below.