THE owner of a bar which was opened privately on Friday night by a staff member has apologised on behalf of the business.

Police were called to The Courthouse Bar and Restaurant in Bolton at around 10.15pm on Friday to reports that it was still operating despite the Government's rule that bars must be closed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told all bars to shut on March 20 to help avoid the spread of coronavirus.

But on Friday night officers were sent to the Mawsley Street bar and dispersed a group of people that had gathered there.

The owner said he was unaware of the incident until afterwards and that it had been a staff member who had gained access and let two other people in.

He made it clear that no trade took place and that the employee no longer works there.

The owner said: "I think there was a staff member and two others who were in the bar.

"They were playing loud music.

"I am disappointed and upset about what has happened.

"They have let us down and let themselves down.

"The employee is no longer with us.

"We do not condone this as a business.

"We do not take this lightly and we apologise as a business."

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed they attended the scene.

No arrests were made by the force.

A GMP spokesman said: "At around 10.15pm on Friday, April 3, police were called to reports that a business premises on Mawdsley Street was continuing to trade, despite Government restrictions.

"Officers attended and a group of people congregated nearby was dispersed."