The council has said the guilty verdict in the illegal demolition of a historical pub sends a ’clear message’ to owners of listed buildings.

On Monday, five people were found guilty of the illegal demolition of the Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green.

Ribble Valley Borough Council took Andrew Donelan, 60, Nicola Donelan, 58, and Rebecca Donelan, 28, all of Carr Hall, Whalley New Road, Wilpshire, David Cotterell, 57, of Percliff Way, Philips Road, Blackburn, and Brian Ingleby, 69, to court after saying that they had razed the Grade II listed building to the ground unlawfully on June 15, 2021.

The five faced a trial at Burnley Magistrates Court where they were found guilty on all charges by a District Judge.

Lancashire Telegraph: The Punch Bowl InnThe Punch Bowl Inn (Image: Archive)

All five were found guilty of executing the demolition of the building, while Andrew Donelan, Nicola Donelan, Cotterell and Ingleby were charged with failing to notify the local authority of the intended demolition.

The council’s director of economic development and planning, Nicola Hopkins said: “This verdict sends a clear message to the owners of listed buildings that they cannot just do whatever they want.

“We are determined to protect the built environment and will not hesitate action to take against those undertaking work on listed buildings unlawfully or without the proper consent.”

While the chairman of the council’s planning and development committee, Alison Brown added: “This has been a complicated case and I would like to thank our planning and legal officers for their skill and expertise in bringing it to a successful conclusion.”

The group will be sentenced on January 24 at Burnley Magistrates Court.