BURY Council has told businesses which have hosted gatherings during the national lockdown that they should be “ashamed” of themselves.

A small number of licensed venues were reported to have held “private sessions” behind closed doors last week.

Council officers have visited these premises and told them that they must stop what they are doing.

Chief executive Geoff Little said that these businesses seem to have listened to the council’s warnings.

He said: “We had a few isolated incidents of licensed premises having private sessions for people behind closed doors.

“Our licensing unit have stepped in and been very firm in saying they have to stop.

“All the reports we’ve had suggest they have heeded and these have been isolated incidents.”

Council leader David Jones said there were two or three venues across the borough who were reported to be operating behind closed doors last week.

He had previously said that businesses licensed by the council, such as pubs, which ignore government guidance could have their licence revoked.

But he did not “envisage” council employees being asked to enforce social distancing measures.

He said: “The line we took as the enforcement agents was, ‘you should all be ashamed of what you are doing’, and it seems to have worked.”

But the leader was keen to point out that most businesses in Bury are complying by the government’s advice – and some are going further to help their communities during the coronavirus crisis.

The franchisee of three McDonald’s restaurants in Bury donated milk, eggs and buns to care homes across the borough through the council.

Bakery and chocolate shop Slattery has given the council its plastic aprons and Philips High School in Whitefield has donated goggles for staff to use as protective equipment.

Cllr Jones added: “I live in Sunny Bank, my local pub is Sir Robert Peel. The landlord rang me and said, ‘I can’t open the pub, but I’ve got a van. Can I deliver anything?’ That’s the other side of what we’re talking about.”