POLICE found a man hiding in a ladies toilet cubicle when they visited a pub which was allegedly serving alcohol during lockdown.

Licensing enforcement officials and police visited The Waggon and Horses, in Chorley Road, Westhoughton, on two occasions last November amid claims it was serving alcohol in lockdown.

The government had ordered hospitality venues to close on November 5. Licensee Michael McNamara has denied he was actively serving alcohol and insisted licensing officers had been heavy-handed.

Council licensing officials published stills from a video, taken at the time, showing the man hiding in the toilets, for a licensing review.

But town hall lawyers today ruled that showing the video had to result in the entire hearing being conducted in secret as the footage 'shows members of the public’.

Mr McNamara had already questioned the fairness of the borough council's inquiry into his former pub in a previous Bolton News article.

The report, by licensing enforcement officer Steven Morris, said: “On Monday, November 23, police officers attended after report of people were inside drinking.

“Officers looked through the windows and observed three males inside.

“One of the males was later confirmed as being Michael McNamara.

“The two other males were seen to be seated at a table with alcoholic drinks in front of them.

“Police observed one of the males sneaking off toward the rear of the premises.

“Mr McNamara claimed there had only been one other person on the premises and that he had left.

“He said the male had been pointing for him. Officers searched the premises and found one of the males hiding in the toilet.

“When questioned, Mr McNamara admitted serving the two with alcohol but had not charged for the drinks.”

Police later issued him with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice.

The report said Mr McNamara appealed the penalty but that was dismissed and is now the subject of judicial proceedings.

The application to review the licence from licensing enforcement added: “Allowing people to drink on the premises in breach of restrictions falls short of what is expected from a licensee.”

In a letter appealing the notice, which was published by Bolton Council, Mr McNamara said: “The premises were not open to the public.

“One friend was on the premises who had called to see me. I admit I gave him a drink which he was not charged for.

“The curtains and doors were open as I was supplying takeaway food. I admit I was wrong to send my friend to the toilet.

“I have made a complaint of the officer’s attitude and illegally searching my private property upstairs.

“Damage was done to the ladies toilet door which the officer kicked in.”

The result of the premises licence review will be published by Bolton Council in the coming days.

The pub, owned by Hawthorn Leisure, was closed at the end of June, a decision Mr McNamara said left seven people out of work.