More jobs on the way for sweets factory

LIFE is sweet for a 127-year-old factory getting a £300,000 injection thanks to the popularity of retro candy.

More jobs are on the way for Tilleys Sweets in Thrapston as parent company Zed Candy moves production over from a factory in Ireland.

Zed Candy co-owner Donal Kavanagh said: “We are seeing a lot of growth in our market with a lot of people going back to traditional retro sweets.

“While it’s very unfortunate that we have had to close our facility in Donegal in Ireland, the benefit is we will be moving the manufacturing and jobs to Tilleys.

“We are employing 58 people in Thrapston and we are expecting jobs to move with the move in production.”

Mr Kavanagh refused to reveal how many jobs will be created in Thrapston as he feared it might affect Zed Candy’s ongoing negotiations with unions representing its Irish workers.

The Letterkenny plant is expected to close on May 31 with the loss of 15 jobs.

Zed Candy has already started moving machinery into the plant off Oundle Road as it seeks to boost production from 85 to 105 tonnes per week.

Mr Kavanagh, who bought Tilleys with business partner Brendan Roantree in 2005, expects jobs to be created once production gets going in the next four weeks.

The firm is moving production of its Oatfield Sweets brand from Letterkenny, County Donegal, to Tilleys. The line includes toffees, eclairs and chews. Toffee production started last week. Tilleys has been making sweets since 1885.

Steven North, leader of East Northamptonshire Council, said: “East Northamptonshire Council is always pleased when a business comes to our district, especially if there is a chance of extra employment.

“We wish Zed Candy sweet success for the future and thank it for investing in East Northamptonshire and making its home here.”

Zed Candy’s turnover is £1.6m.