ENGINEERS were locked out of their place of work by angry landlords, amid rumours the company is set to go into administration.

Workers at Metallurgical Processing Limited (MPL), who lease a site on Stancliffe Street, Blackburn, turned up at 6.30am yesterday to clock on, only to find the gates had been padlocked by the site landlord.

Production engineer Paul Quinn said: "We were informed on Friday that the company had got into some financial difficulty and could go into administration, but were told to come to work as normal after the weekend.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

"When we got here this morning though we found the landlord of the site padlocking the gates so we couldn't get in."

MPL acquired the 90,000 sq ft leasehold premise in July this year after former owners of the company, Laser Shapes (NW), went into administration.

At the time, all the staff at the Witton Park site were retained and reassured by MPL bosses that their jobs would be safe.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Mr Quinn added: "We've received no notification of redundancy, nothing about administration, nothing.

"In July, when MPL took over, we were told we'd still have jobs, but now we feel like we've been lied to. We all have families and this close to Christmas, it's very worrying."

The Witton Mill site is leased by MPL from Monte Blackburn Limited, but according to workers, MPL had fallen behind in paying them rent.

Employees now believe that this failure to pay rent and the rumours of financial difficulty has led landlords to take action and secure the gates.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Director of Metallurgical Processing Ltd, Philip Gostling, said: "After we took the business over in July we were unable to access the market needed and now it's looking likely that the company will go into administration.

"It is true that we have fallen one month behind in paying rent but we were not expecting the landlord to lock the gates.

"We need access to the building to remove tools and machinery and I spoke to the landlord this morning but he has informed us we will now need to go through his lawyers.

"The turn in our financial situation happened quickly and I am genuinely concerned for all the employees and we are trying to do our best for them at this time."

A representative of the sites landlords, Mr Arif Patel, was contacted but refused to comment on the situation.