A pub taken over by its punters has been praised by a minister tasked with helping to revive the industry.

Community pubs minister Kris Hopkins visited the Golden Ball in Bishophill to glean information from the dedicated owners who took charge of the Grade II Listed bar two years ago.

The popular watering hole, found on the corner of Cromwell Road and Victor Street, made history in 2012 when it became the first of its kind in York to be run by a co-operative of drinkers.

The newly installed minister following July's reshuffle spoke to members as part of the Government's efforts to give more communities the chance to take over their struggling locals.

He said: "Pubs aren't just about drinking beers, it's about the community, and if you walk into a pub you know straight away if it's a nice place and has a good atmosphere.

"If you find a place that's being run by its community, is trusted and successful, it's really important we do try and support them.

"There are some 500 community pubs and there are lots of MPs across the country who have lobbied the chancellor about them.

"He has repsonded by giving pubs a bigger rate reduction this year and last year, and beer is now 8p cheaper."

About 180 investors raised more than £75,000 by investing £400 each in shares in return for a say in the pub’s running and an annual dividend of up to five per cent.

Most of those in charge live in Bishophill, but some come from across York and some ex-pats now living in India, China, Peru and Norway heard what was happening and decided to get involved.

Robin Wooffitt, 52, is on the board of the Golden Ball's co-operative.

He said: "The previous landlord had wanted to sell-up for many years and the pub was bobbling along.

"The concern was that someone would come in and change the character, so we wanted to preserve its identity and subtly transform it so it would become an engine of community activity.

"We are a success story.

"We have massively improved our takings and increased the use of the pub by community groups."

Manager Beth Maguire added: "It's good he's coming to see what we do.

"The starting point is taking an interest and he is demonstrating he has an interest by getting out and meeting people."