MORE than 20 jobs are set to be created with the takeover of a long-established accident repair centre in Hyndburn.

Greyhound Ford Bodyshop, which has been in business since 1999 and employs 10 people, has been acquired by Howard Basford.

The deal will see the expansion of the firm’s network to nine sites across the North West, and create 25 new jobs at Greyhound’s Altham base over the next six months.

“The acquisition of Greyhound Ford Bodyshop is a fantastic opportunity for Howard Basford to expand into a new area, and build on the great work already achieved by Michael Pilling and his team,” said chairman Tracy Howard.

“It’s a purpose-built unit with state-of-the-art repair equipment in a great location.

“We have been looking to expand for a while and this was a perfect fit for us.

“Greyhound currently averages 15 cars a week through its workshops and we are aiming to bring that up to nearer 40 as soon as possible, with a target of 70 cars per week over the next nine months.

“To do that, we need to increase the staff from the 10 currently employed there up to 35.

“It promises to be a very exciting year ahead for all the team.

“As well as recruiting new staff, we will also be looking at investing around £250,000 on new equipment in order to accommodate the expected increase in workload.”

The deal also marks the end, after 40 years, of former chairman Michael Pilling’s day-to-day involvement with Greyhound.

In January, he sold his Ford dealership, based in Whalley Road, Accrington, to the Peoples Group.

“I am delighted that Howard Basford has acquired Greyhound, as it has an excellent reputation in the body repair business, and that our highly-skilled team of staff will be able to continue working at the site,” he said.

Founded in 1988, the Howard Basford Group is based in South Wirral and its sites, which include Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool, and Crewe, employ 240 people.

The company is one of the founding members of the National Accident Repair Group, a network comprising 10 of the UK’s top accident repair specialists.