This is all that remains of one of Chorley’s most popular pubs after it was left ransacked.
The Grade II-listed Swan with Two Necks is now barely recognisable, after timber decking outside the pub was ripped up, trees were cut down, and fixtures inside were taken out.
The landmark building on Hollinshead Street, in the St Laurence’s conservation area, was visited by council officers and the police last week. It was also visited by bailiffs on Thursday afternoon.
At 3pm that day, police were informed of a civil dispute raised by the building’s owner.
Doors and windows have now been boarded up, and the building has been made secure.
Two weeks ago, licensee Denise Hogan and her husband Nick announced they would be leaving the award-winning pub after eight years. In 2008 they completed a £160,000 refurbishment of the pub, which included creating new decking outside, laying solid oak flooring, installing designer light fixtures throughout the venue, and a roof terrace.
Coun Dennis Edgerley, who represents Chorley North East and is the executive member for planning at Chorley Council, said: “I find it particularly sad because the building is potentially a very attractive site.
“Instead of it being an attractive feature, at the moment it is a scar.
“I hope that the situation can be resolved.”
The pub hit the headlines in 2010 when Mr Hogan became the first person to be jailed in connection with the smoking ban.
He was sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to pay a fine, imposed by a judge, for more than £10,000 for flouting the legislation.
The offences related to his time as landlord of The Swan with Two Necks and Barristers in Bradshawgate, Bolton.
But a campaign was launched by his supporters, and his fines were paid. He was released 11 days into the sentence.
The pub closed in 2010, with the smoking ban and cheap supermarket booze blamed for its demise. But in 2011 it reopened, with the Hogans saying they would give the business “one last go”.
Punch Taverns, who previously leased the building, say they stopped leasing it 10 years ago. It is believed the owners of the pub now live in London.
Lancashire Police confirmed they had been informed of the dispute, but said it is not being investigated as a criminal matter.
Mick Clark, a spokesman for the Central Lancashire Campaign for Real Ale, said: “So much damage has been done (inside the building) that it will be very difficult to bring it back into use as a pub, which is a real shame for Chorley.
“We have to be very vigilant to make sure it can stay as a pub, and developers don’t get their hands on it. So I will be talking to Chorley Council to see if they can support us in that. I want it to be brought back to a pub as soon as possible.
“This is another knock for Chorley’s pub scene.”