COUNCIL officials visited businesses in Barrow that were reported to have stayed open during lockdown.

Non-essential traders were reported to have stayed open in the borough in November, January and February, in breach of national restrictions at the time.

Many of the business said to have stayed open were in fact close when visited, the council said.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws showed that two non-essential retailers remained open illegally in November.

Verbal advice was given to the traders.

There was one report in January.

The recreation and fitness business received a visit from the council but no action was taken.

In February there were two council visits to retailers.

No action was taken against the businesses, described as recreation and fitness and non-essential retail.

No further action was taken in both cases.

Barrow Council received 13 reports of businesses being open after the Government’s first lockdown restrictions were imposed in March.

A spokeswoman from Barrow Borough Council said many of the complaints this time were made towards businesses that were found to be closed.

The spokeswoman said: “The council had received a small number of complaints that some non-essential businesses were open during the national lockdown, in November, January and February.

“However, when visits were conducted to view the premises, results found that the majority of sites were in fact closed and not open to the public.

"On other occasions, verbal advice was seen as a proportionate response and the businesses subsequently closed.”