MYSTERY surrounds the disappearance of a husband-and-wife team who abandoned their pub a week after a police search.
Stuart and Sharron Wood vanished from the Dog and Partridge in Baxenden on Tuesday after just three months in charge.
Regulars, who have been left nonplussed, said the couple left without a word of goodbye.
A note left in a window of the Back Lane pub reads: "Dear customers, we are deeply sorry but we have had to make a decision to move back home and give up the pub. It will therefore be shut for a few days.
"We could not face opening for one last time and having to tell you all in person and hope you can understand this.
"We have met some wonderful people while in the pub and hope you get a landlord and landlady deserving of you. Thanks and sorry."
Mr and Mrs Wood are believed to have returned to their home near Poulton-le-Fylde.
A pub regular, who didn't want to be named, said the brewery, Scottish and Newcastle, had increased the Woods' rent by nearly £200 a week.
He said: "I was speaking to Stuart on Sunday and he said it could be just days rather than months before they left.
"The bottom line is that they were new to the trade and I think they hadn't expected it to be so tiring."
He added that the police raid was "a case of mistaken identity" and the couple were very nice to know.
Donna Roper, who lives near the empty pub in Back Lane, said: "It was a shock that they upped sticks and left like that. They were both lovely people who were always nice to get on with.
"My daughter worked for them and only had nice things to say.
"It's a shame. The brewery has changed the locks and a caretaker is looking after the place while cover is found."
A Scottish and Newcastle spokesman said: "The licensee was a short-term tenant who had looked after the business since the beginning of June.
"We would like to emphasise that the matter is of a personal nature and has nothing to do with the pub itself. As such, it is not appropriate for us to comment further.
"Our main priority is to get the pub re-opened for customers as quickly as possible. In the meantime we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused."