NIGHTCLUB bosses in Burnley have denied claims a reality TV star was punched while visiting the town at the weekend.

Rumours started circulating on social networking sites on Sunday that Joey Essex, from The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), was punched in the face at Pharaoh’s bar in Hargreaves Street.

The 22-year-old star had hosted a night called The Only Way Is Reem at Fusion nightclub in Hammerton Street on Saturday night before heading into town, accompanied by two doormen from the club.

Pharaoh’s owner Jimmy Nelson said: “Joey came down to Pharaoh’s after leaving Fusion at about 2.15am.

“About eight doormen trained in close protection were with him all the time to ensure that he was okay.

“He had a lot of photographs taken with the public and a few drinks before leaving an hour later. There was certainly no trouble.”

Mick Lawless, Fusion manager, said: “Joey was in the club for a few hours meeting and greeting people and having a lot of photos taken. He was very friendly and really seemed to be enjoying himself.

“He said he wanted to go and see a few more bars in the town afterwards so two of our doormen went with him. He said he had a really nice time and that it would be a pleasure to come back.

“We are hoping to have more big names coming to nights in the future.

“It’s a shame people feel the need to start rumours like this. It puts the town in a bad light and may put off other famous people from coming.”

Dave Read, from Neon Management, who represent Joey, said: “Joey went into the bar but was not hit. I don’t know where these rumours have come from but they are not true. He had a great time in the town and enjoyed his night out.”

After leaving Burnley the TV star stayed at The Alma Inn, Laneshawbridge, until 3pm on Sunday.

General manager Ryan Taylor, from The Alma, said: “Joey came back from Burnley in the early hours of the morning. There was no suggestion anything had happened. He said he had a really nice time. He spent most of his time in his room and ordered bangers and mash.”