Carlisle competition a sign of the times

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Staff at family-run coach operator Irving’s Travel were left “furious” after rival firm Reays chained a billboard advertising its business to a signpost outside their door, local newspaper The News & Star reported.

Paula Irving, part of the family which owns Irving’s Travel, said she came in to work to find the sign for the company Reays outside Irving’s office in Carlisle city centre.

It advertised day trips and coach excursions for the Wigton-based firm, which has a travel centre in nearby, and was chained to a metal pole on a signpost displaying parking information.

Paula Irving, whose family have run the Irving’s business in Carlisle for nearly 50 years, said: “It must have been done late at night or through the night. I got here and it was just outside.

“You don’t do that to a small company. This is a family business. I wouldn’t dream of doing this to them.”

Paula claimed she was given “no prior notice” and said there was no dispute with the rival firm.

Reays is a family-run business which operates the City Hopper bus network in Carlisle, a range of public bus routes and school services across Cumbria as well as a fleet of private coaches.

A spokesman from Reays confirmed the board had been removed.