Customers of the Albemarle & Bond and Herbert Brown pawnbrokers are being kept in the dark about store closures, according to the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA).

A statement posted on the pawnbroker’s website said that “this store has ceased trading” and they could not be reached on Friday afternoon.

The company has not confirmed how many stores will shut.

The NPA said that Speedloan Finance, which owns the highstreet brands, has “closed a number of stores” and taken the decision to downscale.

“Their decision to downscale UK operations is a strategic matter for the company but the NPA has expressed its concern that the communication of their actions to their customers falls below the standards expected of its members,” a statement said.

“In particular we are most unhappy with the fact that customers cannot get through to the helpline,” it added.

The association said it had demanded the management of the company resolve the issue as “a matter of urgency”.

The statement on the company’s website said that they were “unable to contact all customers prior to the closure date”.

All items would be transferred from the affected shops to the company’s pawnbroking centre for the duration of the loan, it said, adding: “We apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused by the store closure.”

Customers of Albemarle & Bond and Herbert Brown pawn their belongings in exchange for short-term cash.