LUCKLESS landlord Ian Hawes has vowed the show must go on despite a catalogue of disasters which has dogged his first months in charge.

And at least one of the strange goings on at the Bay Horse Inn, Osbaldeston, has been blamed on a supernatural presence - in the form of Cyril the resident ghost!

Ian, who took over the pub last December, said: "It's been one thing after another since we came here and I must admit I have thought of throwing in the towel, but my wife Pauline, Thwaites' and the locals have persuaded me to stay on."

Problems at the pub have ranged from break-ins to oil leaks in the cellar, but it was a recent flooding that raised a few eyebrows over the bar. Ian said: "One of the barmaids came in and we were showing her round upstairs. There were no taps on upstairs or downstairs, but 10 minutes later we found water pouring through the ceiling.

"We have no way of explaining it other than it was caused by Cyril, the pub's ghost."

He added: "I don't know much about Cyril as we haven't been here long, but we've heard he's been around for quite a while."

Ian also had 1,000 litres of oil from a tank leak into their cellar just after their arrival and had to deal with the repercussions of a chimney fire last week.

But it was a break-in at the pub on Saturday night, which followed an earlier attempt by thieves a few weeks ago, that has caused the greatest concern.

Ian said: "We were woken by the police on Sunday morning after our neighbours spotted the back door open.

The door had been forced and the fruit machine had been smashed up in the back garden. About £200 was stolen. The cigarette machine was nearby but they didn't manage to break in to that."

"The police told us the helicopter was called out and a dog team from Skelmersdale, but the thieves managed to get away.

"But it is thanks to our neighbours that the police were called out so quickly and we can't thank them enough."

Ian said he believed a similar raid had been carried out at the pub just days before he and Pauline took over.

The Bay Horse, on the A59 Longsight Road, is Ian and Pauline's first venture at running a pub after more than 20 years in the fruit machines trade.

He said: "Running a pub is something we had talked about for over a year, although Pauline still works in the fruit machines business. I spent 28 years in the same role, so we knew a lot about running a pub.

"We looked at quite a few pubs before we came here and fell in love with the place."

He added: "Knowing the industry so well we just never expected anything like this to happen, but despite everything we are here for the duration and hope to get the place back up on its feet.

"Whatever happens next happens and we will stay in the job. We want to get the pub back to the local that it once was."