COUNCIL bosses have agreed to write off thousands in business rates debt from an award-winning bakery.

Ribble Valley Council is owed almost £2,500 in unpaid business rates by Sandersons.

The loss-making bakery had been forced to call it a day in October, 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 intensified at the 89-year-old enterprise over the course of last year, leading them to call in administrators for a second time.

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

Director of resources Mark Edmondson said: “No specific statute exists to give guidance on the circumstances under which debts, in general, can be written off other than the statute of limitations.

“We only write debts off where all avenues of debt recovery have been fully explored.

“As a matter of law, we are under obligation to take reasonable steps to collect business rates debts. We do this by various means, including summonses, enforcement agents, bankruptcy, winding up and committal warrants.

“However, there are some cases where debtors simply leave their property with arrears or are declared bankrupt, insolvent or cease trading.

“There is a case where a company has gone into administration and we need to write off this debt."