GREYHOUND racing at Poole Stadium has been permanently closed, Gaming International has confirmed.

No race meets have been held at the site off Wimborne Road since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and the company said it is with “regret and sadness” that they are announcing the permanent closure.

After a consultation, colleagues in Poole have worked with greyhound trainers to assist in transferring to other racecourses, including Swindon.

Chairman at Gaming International, Clarke Osborne, said: “I find it difficult to express my sadness at this decision, I have always hoped that we would see an early end to the restrictions and to this horrible virus that has gripped the whole world but today, it has been made clear that normality for sporting and leisure events is a long time away.

“We re-opened greyhound racing as a part of a new venture in Poole in 1997 and have made so many friends over the last 23 years. We have all had a lot of fun, entertained so many people and formed a family.

“I want to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to that family over the 23 years and to remember those members of that family who have sadly passed during that time.

“I think we can all be proud of our achievements and I know that we are all so sad that it has come to an end.”

A statement from Gaming International said: “We will continue to work with our colleagues and trainers to ensure as painless a closure as possible and with the Greyhound Board to ensure the welfare of those greyhounds who are unable to race elsewhere.

“We want to give our sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to the operation of Greyhound Racing in Poole over these past 20 years and wish them well in the future.

“The stadium will continue to operate with a small management team remaining to maintain our existing businesses and explore opportunities for further diversification and uses.”

As reported, Poole Speedway owner Matt Ford said the club had every intention of racing at Wimborne Road next year.