Leading councillors have voiced their "disappointment" after a popular pub was reprimanded for failing to follow coronavirus regulations.

Colchester's public safety boss Mike Lilley said The Bull, in Crouch Street, Colchester, had failed to comply with previous warnings.

The pub is one of the first to be served direction by Essex County Council under the Coronavirus Act 2020 for failing to observe safe Covid practices.

“These are challenging times and it is disappointing that this action has had to be taken," said Mr Lilley.

“The premises in question have been given previous warnings in relation to these issues.

“We must take direct action to protect our residents and do our part to keep the county, and country, safe.”

The authority said despite advice and warnings, the pub did not stick to the guidance as set out in the legislation, which grants the Government emergency powers to handle the pandemic.

The Bull and The Chequers pub, in Harlow, both face closure if they continue to flout the rules.

The directions, served by Dr Mike Gogarty, director of public health at Essex County Council, order the pubs to follow basic Covid safety measures and adhere to their own risk assessments.

If they do not do so, the council will consider making a further direction to close the pubs.

Dr Gogarty said: “It is disappointing these premises have not ensured that their premises are Covid safe and that this action is, therefore, necessary.

“Most businesses are working really hard to ensure adherence to Covid regulations, they want to protect customers and minimise the risk of a local lockdown and we must not allow the actions of a few to undermine this.”

Mark Cory, leader of Colchester Council, added: “I fully support taking action on premises when Covid safety measures are breached.

“With rising cases of the virus, we must act quickly and firmly.”

The Gazette has attempted to reach the Bull for comment.