CONCERNS have been raised over the future of a historic Ribble Valley pub.

The Punch Bowl, near Hurst Green, closed around three months ago after only being reopened last summer.

Since then those living near the famous “haunted” inn have said they are worried it is becoming a target for break-ins and vandalism.

The Longridge Road venue was broken into in April, when an iron grate and some tools were stolen, and police have also received several reports of suspicious activity in the car park.

The Punch Bowl, above, is renowned for being one of the most haunted in Lancashire and has also been run as an Indian restaurant.

Coun Janet Alcock, who represents the Aighton, Bailey and Chaigley ward which includes the village of Hurst Green, said its rural location made it vulnerable.

She said: “There is a row of cones to stop you parking behind the pub, but you do see dodgy vans there.

“It is a great shame for it to be empty and the best thing that could happen is if it were turned back into a house.” Ghost tours guide Simon Entwistle, who said the pub was famous due to the story of a highwayman being executed there in 1741, said it was upsetting to see such a historically important building going to wrack and ruin.

He said: “It is a terrible shame, I really hoped that the new managers could make a go of it.

“I would hate to think that it would be closed forever because it is a tourist attraction in itself.

“All books on Lancashire ghosts focus on the Punch Bowl.”