Mystery surrounds the sudden closure of a popular country pub in the run up to the New Year.

The Farmers Arms at Hilldale near Parbold earned itself an enviable reputation with lovers of good food from all over west Lancashire, and its car park was often not big enough to cope with people of good taste.

That's all ended for the time being, a sign on the door announcing the pub's closure which is believed to have taken place on New Year's Eve - it's not known how many disappointed diners were affected; while QLocal's Roger Blaxall was taking photos, two turned up and turned on their heels to find another place to have a meal.

Someone's cheekily drawn a map to the nearby Rigbye Arms which is about a mile away in Wrightington; one local said last week there had been comments about the Farmers Arms manager's attitude to both staff and diners...