A deal has been sealed to save jobs at a custom clothing operation which is said to have struggled in the wake of the pandemic.

Administrators were appointed for Blackburn-based Inkthreadable after 12 months of battling tough trading condition and a significant tax bill.

But the Blackburn Business Park outfit, which was opened as teenagers by Darwen twins Alexander and Aaron Cunliffe, with Alex's then-girlfriend Amy Dunn, has managed to secure a buy-out.

A total of 20 jobs at the firm, alongside other company assets, have been transferred to Hyper Merch Ltd, of which Alexander Cunliffe is a director.

Administrator Megan Singleton, of Leonard Curtis Recovery, said in a report: "The directors advised that the company initially suffered financially following the Covid 19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

"During the pandemic, the company received a surge in orders. As a result of this, the directors made a decision to move into larger trading premises and employ further members of staff to meet this demand.

"The directors have advised that following the easing of lockdown measures, the level of demand for the company's products reduced to pre-pandemic levels.

"This resulted in the company servicing larger-than-required premises and having employed more staff than required.

"As such the company did not have sufficient cashflow to keep up with its overheads and other creditors."

Administrators say initially the Hutton Street company, which was initially based at Oswaldtwistle Mills, worked with Leonard Curtis on a 'time to pay' agreement with HM Revenue and Customs, to address immediate financial pressures.

But it was decided in January the company was effectively insolvent and an agreed sale would be sought.

This deal was undertaken with Hyper Merch Ltd, of which Alexander Cunliffe is also a director, for the sum of £130,000, which included the transfer of staff, plant and machinery, and goodwill.

Ms Singleton says the company owed two mortgages to Arkle Ltd, relating to plant and machinery, which have been guaranteed by Mr Cunliffe.

Administration papers report around £1.25 million was owed to trade and expense creditors and the firm had also received a government 'bounce back' loan, financial support offered to firms during the pandemic, of £28,842.