A GROWING engineering firm has snapped up a rival based just two miles down the road.

Metal fabricating giant WEC Group, of Darwen, has swallowed up Blackburn-based Nutter Aircrafts Limited, a precision-engineering company founded in 1939.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will allow award-winning WEC to expand and create more jobs, according to bosses.

And they have promised to invest in Nutter, of Chadwick Street, Infirmary, telling staff their positions are safe under the new ownership.

Paul Aplin, who runs WEC-owned Hi-Spec CNC, will be general manager of Nutter Aircrafts, which crafts precision components to customer’s designs. He said: “There is a little bit of crossover with what WEC does but we were looking to acquire a quality machine shop firm that is complementary to our own.

“We were attracted by their reputation in high-tech engineering and at the same time, the owners wanted to retire. It was an opportunity that suited everybody.”

Under the deal, Nutter Aircrafts will be run for a time by former owners Alan Dixon and Keith Pickup, before Mr Aplin takes over.

The addition of Nutter Aircrafts’ 22 staff will mean the enlarged WEC Group has around 275 employees and a turnover of more than £20million.