BUSINESSES near York’s Barbican Centre are going snooker loopy as fans and players of the sport bring a big boost to trade during the UK Championship.

The tournament, which began on Saturday, is becoming an much-needed annual boost for takings in restaurants and bars close to the venue.

A spokeswoman for the nearby Loop Bar and Grill, said: “It was our busiest week last year and we are certainly looking forward to this year.

“If I’m honest I would say 70 per cent of the business came from camera crews and presenters while the rest is from people here for the snooker. We have people in watching it on the big screens and we have the players in too. Judd Trump was in here.”

Meanwhile at the Phoenix Inn in George Street, owner Jon Fulton said: “We have the snooker on in the back and people come in to watch it.

“Last year we had John Higgins’ brother in because he doesn’t like watching him play live.

“And because it’s sessional people come in before and after – it’s fantastic for us and we are definitely looking forward to it.

“It will be a big boost over the festive period.”