A STAGGERING number of Hyndburn pubs have called last orders amid fears that the industry is struggling to survive.
An Observer investigation discovered boarded-up and derelict pubs throughout the borough.
A particular problem area is Church where mystery surrounds the recent closure of the Cross Guns.
A local resident who did not wish to be named said: "This area is very deprived and we have had problems with people on the Pubwatch banned list throwing their weight around and coming in."
He added: "I'm not mentioning any names but certain pubs don't turn these people away, simply because they cannot afford to."
The nearby Stag Inn is also closed while the Commercial has been boarded up for years.
Amanda Sulivan, landlady of the Bridge Inn in Church, said: "I think a lot of pubs are closing simply due to the price of beer. Pubs like the Last Orders, which sell pints for £1, are hard to compete against. We can't even buy the beer that cheap, never mind sell it for that."
She added: "I would put a lot of the problems in this area down to the travellers. They come in droves and make a nuisance of themselves."
John Wilson, manager of another Church pub, the Thorn, said: "It's a shame all these pubs are closing but it is definitely not down to the smoking ban. I think the price of beer and possibly the lack of daytime drinking are causes for concern."
He added: "We sell real ales and that definitely helps us. So far we are making as much money as last year but I wouldn't like it to change."
Some licensees say there has been a major change to the pub tradition, as more and more pubs are opening later in the day and staying open later at night, and they are questioning whether the 24-hour drinking law has been beneficial.
An example is the Black Dog, Union Road, Oswaldtwistle, which opens at teatime as there is no demand during the daytime.
Others point to the changing trend towards drinking at home, especially when you can buy bottles of wine for £3 at the larger supermarkets.
In Clayton-le-Moors the Lamb Inn and the Volunteer Arms, both on Whalley Road, have been closed since September last year. Both were owned by the Province company which is believed to have gone bankrupt before Christmas.
The Albion Inn, also on Whalley Road, was formerly owned by Knight Inns but was sold around three weeks ago. It is currently open for business.
Landlady Lucille McLoughlin, who has been there for just under two years, said: "The man who owns the company has moved to Austria and is opening a hotel there. Because of that he is selling off his businesses over here and the Albion is one of them.
"I don't know what will happen but this is the first pub I have run and I have enjoyed my time here."
It is believed the company which has bought the Albion is Bac Properties which also owns Snuffy's Bar in Great Harwood and the Old England Forever in Clayton.
Other recent closures include the Globe on Blackburn Road, Accrington, and the Foxhill on Union Road, Oswaldtwistle.
The moorland village of Green Haworth is now without the pub since the closures of the Red Lion and the Shoulder of Mutton, the latter shutting its doors despite a vociferous protest campaign.
And the Rising Bridge Inn has been converted into an Indian restaurant, meaning there is no pub between Haslingden town centre and Baxenden.