THE landlord of a closed Westhoughton pub has expressed his anger and heartbreak at how the situation has unfolded, claiming he wasn’t informed of the decision.

The Waggon & Horses in Chorley Road is currently awaiting a licensing review for breaking coronavirus restrictions last year.

But landlord Michael McNamara has disputed claims levelled against him - although the pub has now been boarded up by the company which leases the building.

Mr McNamara has claimed the firm, Hawthorn Leisure, gave him no time to prepare and a letter allegedly sent to inform him did not arrive.

The closure has left seven of his workers unemployed.

He said: “Someone from Hawthorn Leisure came to me last Monday as I was doing my normal duties and said he was there to board the pub up and didn’t expect anyone to be there. I asked him what was going on and he said that he was just there to board it up. I had no idea. No clue."

He contacted the company, which said a letter had been sent, although he insists he had not received it. He also says an email address of his they held was not correct.

Michael had to inform his seven workers they would have to look for work elsewhere following the decision to take back ownership of the pub.

He has since been informed the decision was made to close the pub due to the alleged Covid rule breaking last November. The pub has a licence review in July.

According to police, three men were drinking inside the premises. But Michael intends to clear his name at the review- which Hawthorn Leisure have not waited for - and is considering taking legal action.

Michael added: “I told them it is immoral and wrong. I have worked during the pandemic, paid my rent, done up the furniture and decorated it. I’ve worked on this pub for the last two years and I feel like I have had it pulled from underneath me. My reputation has been shattered and people are out of jobs. I am gutted the pub has gone and I am ill with it.”

Hawthorn Leisure has been contacted for comment.