CUSTOMERS have reacted with shock after a popular Ramsbottom pub shut suddenly.

Bosses at The Major, in Bolton Street, announced that they were closing with immediate effect yesterday due to "circumstances beyond their control".

The message, posted on the pub's Facebook page, read: "Dear valued customers and friends,

"It is with great sadness and regret that circumstances beyond our control have given us no option but to close, effectively immediately.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all sincerely for your past support and patronage. "We apologise deeply for the suddenness of this closure, as it was not how we wished to conclude our time here.

"We hope to have the opportunity to thank you in person and wish you all the very best for the future.

"Claire and Keith

"P.s leaving party to be arranged."

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Customers have responded to the news with sadness and surprise, with dozens posting messages of support.

One said: "Sad to hear this. Always a great pub to drink in and great selection of drinks. Good luck for the future."

Another added: "So sorry to hear this. Was a regular customer and darts captain in the 1960s and early 70s. Was always a welcoming pub under many landlords. Local pubs are a thing of the past all over the country."

The Major declined to comment.