ONE of the directors of two controversial Bury eateries has been barred from business over a £1.7m accounting riddle.

Council bosses moved to remove the licences from Bellini, in Ramsbottom, and La Capannina, in Unsworth, in 2017, after police raids.

A cannabis farm was found in the basement beneath Bellini, in Bolton Street, licensing bosses were told at the time.

And in a separate search at La Capannina, live bullets and a bag of cocaine were found on the premises.

Monica Bacci, alongside Giancarlo Bacci, were the registered director of Il Tavolo Ltd, which was responsible for Bellini. She was also a director of Chioggia Ltd, which ran La Capannina.

An investigation was undertaken by the Insolvency Service after Il Tavolo went under in November 2018, owing £54.157.

And now Ms Bacci, 72, whose last known address was Park Lane, Whitefield, has been given a six-and-a-half year company director disqualification after officials were unable to resolve what happened to establish why a large sum of money was paid out from the firm's bank account between October 2016 and October 2018.

An Insolvency Service official stated: "Monica Bacci failed to ensure that Il Tavolo Limited maintained and/or preserved adequate accounting records, or in the alternative failed to deliver up to the Administrator such records as were maintained."

Several returns for VAT were complete, leaving the company owing more than £20,000 to HM Revenue and Customs at the time of the liquidation, the same inquiry found.

Lawyers for the Baccis told licensing officials that the cannabis farm at Bellinis was not their responsibility, as the basement was sub-let and they denied any involvement with the drugs seized.

And the bullets discovered in an office had belonged to Giancarlo Bacci, who used to hold a gun licence when he was a sports shooting enthusiast in his younger days. The cocaine was also said to be found in a location to which a number of people would have had access.

The licences, which police had insisted should be withdrawn, were pulled in both cases by the borough's licensing committee.