A LOSS-making bakery in Blackburn has been forced to call it a day - six years after a rescue deal offered hopes of a new lease of life.

Forty-four jobs were saved, in late 2013, at Sandersons, in Pleckgate Road, Ramsgreave, when Stockport-based Jonathan Barton stepped in.

This came against a backdrop of creditors, including HM Revenue and Customs, then being owed £256,000.

Sandersons bounced back and scooped a series of prizes in the 2016 British Pie Awards, including the best in the vegetarian class for its sweet potato and lentil bake and commendations for their spinach and mushroom, chicken and chorizo and cheese and potato products.

Their game pie, another noted awards entry, was also supplied to The Ivy restaurant in London

But problems have intensified at the 89-year-old enterprise in recent months, leading them to call in administrators for a second time.

And now insolvency experts Lines Henry say they have been left with no option but to wind up the bakery, which started life in Mellor Brook in 1930.

Joint administrator Neil Henry said: “The business has been making losses for some time and these were being supported by the owners in the hope that the company would return to profitability.

“However, it became increasingly clear that this was not going to happen. There were two prime reasons for this.

“Firstly, the company operated in an intensely competitive industry which meant that margins were constantly being pressed.

“Secondly, the premises the company traded from were no longer suitable for a modern bakery which prevented the company from obtaining contracts for the supply of bakery products.

“It was felt that these were insurmountable problems and that there was no alternative but to close the business.”

It remains unclear how many positions have been lost as a result of the liquidation.

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Cllr Phil Riley, the borough council’s executive member for regeneration, said he had been concerned the business had been difficulties for some time.

No accounts had been filed by the company’s accountants for the last financial year.

But their records for 2017, posted in June 2018, showed that the capital and reserves for the firm were in the red.

The total for 2016 was £58,999 and this had worsened to £59,624 by 2017.