The future of three Post Office branches in Dumfriesshire have been cast in doubt.

Outlets in Georgetown, Gretna and Thornhill are all set to close in February with the Post Office seeking new partners to run the services.

All of the existing locations are housed inside Spar stores which has resigned as the operator.

The announcements have been met with concern from people in those communities.

Retired Thornhill resident Greg Parker said: “It came as a surprise to me.

“I saw it on Facebook and that was the first I saw of it. I went in and staff didn’t know anything about it.

“It beats me why they wanted to do it at this time in particular. They say temporary but that could be six days, weeks, months or years.

“When we’re meant to be staying at home as well I don’t know why they want us to travel further afield for an essential service.

“The alternative Post Offices have different and sometimes shorter opening hours. It’s not good.”

Councillor John Martin, whose Nith ward covers Georgetown, is concerned about the future of the service.

Mr Martin said: “My worry is that it won’t reopen again.

“We’ve had this before when Morrisons done away with the Post Office.

“The only real options I can see are a temporary cabin or the Post Office moves to the Premier store nearby but I don’t know if they’d be interested.

“There are 8,500 people in the Georgetown area. They can go to St Michael’s Street and the Whitesands but it’s a bit out of the way for some.”

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth highlighted an alternative option in Gretna is technically illegal.

The Labour representative said: “What is shocking is the Post Office has said that one the nearest branches for people in Gretna to use is in Longtown when it is currently against the law for people to cross the border except when it is really essential.

“It doesn’t look likely that this rule will have changed by February 27.”

South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine.

The SNP’s South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has written to Westminster as the Post Office is still owned by the UK Government.

Ms McAlpine said: “Their model of selling off premises and instead contracting out services to convenience stores has clearly failed.

“The fee they offer private businesses to run these counters is far too low to make them viable so must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

“They must do more to keep these services open.

“This situation was predicted by many, including myself when I campaigned to stop the closure of the Eastriggs Post Office in 2016.

“No wonder our communities feel completely let down.”

A Post Office spokesperson, said: “Thornhill Post Office will close on Saturday 20 February at noon.

“Georgetown closes on Thursday 25 February at 5.30pm, with Gretna closing on Saturday 27 February at noon.

“We know how important a Post Office is to a community. We are currently investigating the options available to reinstate Post Office services to these local communities.

“In the interim alternative branches for Thornhill include Penpont and Closeburn.

“The nearest branches for Georgetown Post Offices include St Michael Street and Dumfries. For Gretna branch the alternatives are at Springfield and Longtown.”