A PUB in the centre of a Monmouthshire village will change hands later this year. 

The Ships Inn in Raglan will be temporarily closing at the beginning of March, as the current landlord's lease expires. 

Landlord Carl Thomas has decided against renewing his current lease with pub owners Stonegate Pubs due to the expenses of buying their own 'wet stock' - all the drinks able to be bought at the bar - directly through the company. 

According to bar manager Gemma Bayliss, stocking through Stonegate is a rule the landlords have to follow in their lease contracts, and it can often become more expensive than if they were to find the same products on the open market. 

She said: "We're unable to make use of these better deals we see because of what's in the landlord lease that was signed. 

"It seems stocking through the company has become increasingly expensive, and whenever we've asked if we could do some stocking elsewhere, we've been told no."

Ms Bayliss explained: "When you consider that there is likely to be more budget cuts to the industry come April, and the fact that minimum wage has gone up alongside the cost of stock, you realise it's not enough. 

"We can't rise our prices for customers enough to cover the extra expenses. It's just not fair, and we've already been running at a loss for the past three, four months, so we decided it was probably best to cut our losses and leave before it becomes a full-on financial disaster." 

However, Ms Bayliss doesn't believe it will stay closed for long. 

She said: "This pub has always been quite popular - we've already heard some interest, and Stonegate have told us they've had a few messages from people who might want to buy it. 

"I don't think it'll be shut down for long after we leave - it's too popular for that."

A spokesperson for Stonegate Pubs said: “The Ship Inn, Raglan is currently open and trading as usual, with no planned period of closure. The current publican has chosen to leave by mutual consent on March 4, at which time we aim to have another publican in place.”