DINERS booked into a famous Calderdale pub have been turning up to find it mysteriously closed.
The award-winning Old Bore in Rishworth is locked and owners Scott and Lisa Hessel cannot be contacted.
Customers and suppliers now fear they will be left thousands of pounds out of pocket. Simon Payne bought £140 worth of vouchers as Christmas presents for family and friends.
The 32-year-old, of Skircoat, Halifax, said: “We have been trying to get hold of them for days.
“I’m annoyed because if they were going to wind up the business there would probably have been something leading up to it.
“You feel a bit cheated.”
Richard Best, 44, of Skircoat Green, Halifax, and his brother-in-law were booked on a cooking experience due to take place next Saturday.
Their wives had bought the £48 vouchers for them as Christmas presents.
Mr Best said: “It’s disappointing we’re going to miss out on the day.”
Staff at nearby pub and restaurant The Malthouse said they had served a number of groups who had been booked in at The Old Bore and had turned up to find it closedt.
TheHessels’ other restaurant, The Carlton Bore in Carlton Husthwaite, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, is also understood to be closed according to local licensees.
Suppliers to both eateries have been struggling to get in contact with the couple over their accounts.
Huddersfield-based fish and mesat supplier Sail Brand says it is owed more than £2,000 and has called in debt collectors.
Managing director Chris Denton said the restaurants’ accounts were suspended in December due to issues over payments.
“We are a small to medium-sized company with 28 employees,” he said.
“This amount of money has an impact on our bottom line.
“That’s the profit we use to develop the business and give pay rises and bonuses.
“It has been a difficult enough couple of years for the catering industry.”
Thirsk meat supplier Taste Tradition said it was owed several hundred pounds.
A spokesman said it had stopped making deliveries to both restaurants in November because of unpaid bills.
Lancashire grocery supplier Wellocks also said it was owed money but could not confirm how much.
The Old Bore is understood to have closed between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
The converted 19th century coaching inn was renowned for the quality of its food.
Scott, the youngest-ever winner of a Roux Brothers scholarship, bought the freehold in 2004 and was the head chef while wife Lisa took care of front of house.
They recently picked up a prize for the best cheeseboard at the 18th British Cheese Awards.
The restaurant has shut at this time of year before but had been due to be open as normal in January, according to a Christmas brochure on its website.
There were no signs on the pub’s doors earlier this week and the building appeared empty.
Repeated attempts by the Courier to contact the couple have been unsuccessful.
Customers who are affected have been advised to contact West Yorkshire Trading Standards’ consumer direct hotline on 08454 04 05 06.