The University of Bolton Stadium is to exchange sporting theatre for legal dramas as it becomes the latest venue for a 'Nightingale Court' in the north-west.
Two courtrooms have been set up at Bolton's home ground to hear non-custodial cases, helping the Ministry of Justice to ease a backlog of cases while providing a financial boost to the League Two club during the coronavirus pandemic.
The rooms have been created in conference facilities housed under the Nat Lofthouse Stand and the West Stand of the 29,000-seater stadium in Horwich, north of the town.
The Government is creating 60 of these temporary courtrooms across the country as part of a £113million programme to help keep the wheels of justice turning at a time when the pandemic has impacted operations at regular courts.
A wide variety of venues, including churches, theatres and hotels have been used – hearing cases for which fines and community service orders can be issued – with other football stadiums under consideration as the scheme expands.
For Bolton, it offers a vital new revenue stream at a time when matches continue to be played behind closed doors and conference facilities otherwise lie dormant.
"The club is pleased to support Bolton Crown Court by enabling the University of Bolton Stadium to be used as a Nightingale Court," a club spokesperson said.
"As a versatile venue which is at the heart of Bolton, we are proud to be once again supporting our local community during what has been a challenging 12 months for all."