A PUB manager has been removed from her post amid crime and drug fears.

Councillors have rejected an application to make Gail Cull the designated premises supervisor of the Craven Heifer, in Astley Bridge, after police argued that she and her family were linked to crime.

Officers said that, while she was running The Pineapple pub nearby, she was thought to be harbouring her nephew while he was wanted by police.

Her grandson, who lived at The Pineapple too, was also found to be in possession of cocaine and cannabis, which police suspect he intended to supply.

Mrs Cull left The Pineapple after it was searched by police last November, and has been in charge at the Craven Heifer for four weeks.

Requesting that a town hall committee remove Mrs Cull as the Blackburn Road pub’s supervisor, PC Andy Vernon said: “The Craven Heifer is just minutes’ walk away from The Pineapple. It is obvious that criminality took place there under the supervision of Mrs Cull. The Craven Heifer is so close that the criminality is likely to continue.”

On November 15, police raided The Pineapple after receiving information that Craig Stillwell, Mrs Cull's nephew, was staying there. He was wanted for a breach of a restraining order.

While police were searching the property, Mrs Cull's grandson — Levi Cull — entered and ran upon seeing police.

He was restrained in the pub's beer garden and officers found that the he had a foldable knife in his hand and three mobile phones.

The committee heard that a further search of his bedroom discovered snap bags filled with cannabis and a white powder, which analysis revealed was cocaine mixed with a bodybuilding powder.

Officers also found scales, a hydraulic press used to compact powder, and keys to a vehicle parked at the back of the pub which had false number plates.

The 21-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possessing class A and B drugs and an offensive weapon. He was released under investigation and police inquiries are ongoing.

However, members of the council's licensing sub-committee were told by PC David Rourke that the findings were indicative of someone who possesses drugs with the intent to supply.

Matthew Evans, director of Craven Heifer owners EM Inns, said that while Mrs Cull was 'related to some people who have dubious activities at best', police had not presented any evidence against her.

Mrs Cull, who previously ran a pub in Stockport, added: “I am so confused by all of this. I am truthful. I didn’t know that Craig was wanted and I certainly didn’t know about my grandson. I would not jeopardise my livelihood. I have done this for many, many years.

“Levi and Craig have no involvement at the Craven Heifer. At the moment the pub is running really well. I feel that I am being penalised for other people’s things.”

She also denied being 'abrupt' with police when The Pineapple was raided.

Cllr David Greenhalgh had questioned the evidence against Mrs Cull.

He said: “Was there evidence that Mrs Cull was harbouring Craig Stillwell in the premises? Part of the evidence was that she was harbouring one of Bolton’s most wanted people, but we don’t know that that was the case.”

However, the committee concluded that it was ‘satisfied on the balance of probabilities’ that crime and disorder was taking place at The Pineapple.

Following the hearing at Bolton Town Hall, Mr Evans said: “They didn’t actually come up with any evidence against Mrs Cull at all. On the bit about harbouring a wanted person, I still don’t understand how she was meant to know that he was wanted.

“It is not my intention to close the pub. I will find someone else to run it.”

He had earlier told the committee: “From my experience, the pub is relatively quiet. It tends to be frequented by older members of the public. It has a set of loyal customers, though that had drifted away over the last 12 months. Since Mrs Cull took over, our older customers seem to have come back to the pub.”

He added: “She has changed it from what was rapidly becoming a difficult pub to a fairly thriving business.

“She also has a long track record of running not dissimilar pubs.”

Admiral Taverns, which runs The Pineapple, said the pub will re-open on February 23 under new management.

A spokesman added: "The pub will be taken over by new licensees who are keen to reinforce the venue as a great community hub for the local area to enjoy. ”

PC Vernon said that the company had asked Mrs Cull to end her tenancy at the pub as keeping her in charge would risk its premises licence being revoked, though she refuted that as a 'total lie' and claimed she had since been offered the chance to take over one of their pubs in Darwen.