WOULD you pay £20 to “prove” you lived in Wigan for the sake of a pint?

Living in the neighbouring borough is a prospect that seemed so unthinkable to many Bolton residents a few months ago – but recent lockdown changes have made the Wigan postcode much more desirable.

After pubs and restaurants in Bolton were forced to close last week, some hospitality establishments in neighbouring areas barred borough residents, refusing to serve people with a BL postcode.

And one man took advantage of the obscure situation, offering to sell his utility bills with a Wigan address for £20.

His post on a local Facebook group caused a stir on social media over the weekend, after he claimed that the bills could get people into pubs outside of the borough.

Cllr Marie Brady, representing Horwich North East, said: “It seems like every bit of guidance released has people looking to find how to exploit them or get around them which is not helping.

“Business owners are obviously frightened and they’re trying to protect their livelihoods, they can put these measures in place but what can they do when some people are finding loopholes?

“If you’re in your own household you can still go to these other pubs but it’s about personal responsibility and common sense.

“I wouldn’t like to be in the position of owning a business or trying to enforce the guidance because it’s practically impossible to cover every aspect.”

The man later claimed his post was "just a joke" ­— although others commented that the current coronavirus outbreak was no laughing matter.

It came as police handed out four fines to Bolton residents for hosting illegal gatherings over the weekend.

Officers broke up a 60th birthday party in Astley Bridge on Friday night, two parties in Farnworth on Saturday night, and another event on Sunday.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: “People need to take responsibility and start following the rules, otherwise we face the real possibility of even tighter restrictions.

“Officers are doing their best to respond to incidents but their resources are stretched.

“The regulations are in place in Bolton for a reason – and we are still seeing rates rise and now hospitalisations increase.

“We need people to work with us, and help us to slow the spread of the virus.“