A PUB landlord, jailed for failing to pay fines imposed when he defied the smoking ban, could be released within days.

Nick Hogan, the former boss of The Swan and Barristers in Bradshawgate, Bolton, was sent to prison for six months last week for non-payment of £10,000 fines and costs imposed when he broke laws about lighting up in public.

His sentence has caused anger among freedom of choice campaigners, who do not agree with the laws.

A Facebook group calling for his release has been set up and attracted nearly 1,000 members.

And a donation fund has been established which currently stands at over £6,000.

If the £10,000 target is reached, the rebel landlord will be released.

His wife Denise Hogan, who runs The Swan With Two Necks in Chorley, said that he did not refuse to pay the fines, but could not afford the £500 a month penalty after being declared bankrupt.

She added: “There are a lot of people out there who agree that Nick should not be in prison.

“He had paid some of the fine but could not afford the £500 a month until the business picks up.

“Chorley is like a ghost town at the moment.

“I am amazed at the amount of support and people pledging donations so he can be released.

“I am very grateful and hopefully he could be out next week.

“I saw him for half an hour on Monday and he is not getting on very well in prison, he should not be there.

“Nick did not want to change the law, he just wanted people to have a choice.”

A Court Service spokesman confirmed that if the fine and costs are paid off Hogan can be released, or he can serve the remainder of the prison sentence as an alternative to paying the money.