An East Lancashire hotel had to turn down 70 bookings in just one day during lockdown, despite advice from the Government to cease operating during the coronavirus crisis.

The Lawrence Hotel in Padiham has had no vacancies since the end of March, when the Covid-19 situation forced similar establishments, including restaurants and B&Bs, to close their doors.

Bucking the trend seen across the hospitality sector though, the award-winning boutique establishment made the decision to remain open for the duration of lockdown and as a result, found itself in high demand.

Owner Michael Huckerby said: "On one Saturday alone, I turned away 70 potential bookings.

"With rates heavily discounted, I suspect some people were trying their luck and hoping to sneak away with their partner for the weekend."

Since the beginning of lockdown the hotel has been inundated with enquiries to provide a safe and secure place for key workers to stay, but Mr Huckerby said any guest making such a booking has to pass stringent checks.

He said: "Currently, the hotel is offering discounted rates of 40 percent, so to ensure guests have genuine reasons for staying and aren't purely trying to take advantage of the situation, we ask for employer letters and the postcode of where the person will be working.

"As a result, we have found ourselves fully booked, which obviously we are grateful for.

"When the government first announced lockdown, we assumed we would be closed until further notice.

"However, we were inundated with enquiries and we also had requests from people who sadly had to attend funerals in the area."

The team at The Lawrence has perfected the check-in procedure, which requires no face-to-face interaction.

In order to be let into the property, guests ring, and the doors open to reception and they sign themselves in.

The next doors are then opened, and people will find keys to their room in the door.

There are no mid-week cleans and guests vacate on a Friday morning.

Rooms are then left for 72 hours before they are thoroughly cleaned.

Mr Huckerby added: "At the minute, we have National Grid workers who are doing work at a nearby sub station and mechanics who are fixing wagons for medical deliveries.

"I think some of them are quite surprised at the accommodation when they turn up.

"We are a boutique hotel with 14 beautiful rooms, with a heavy focus on interior design.

"It’s perhaps a little bit different to what they are used to on business trips."