320 jobs set to be lost

UP to 320 jobs are set to be lost after a sports clothing firm announced plans to relocate a Peterlee warehouse.

JD Sports is expected to shut the site in Kitching Road, North West Industrial Estate, by mid-June.

The site employs 150 people, while there are 170 agency staff working at the warehouse.

The firm, which uses the east Durham site to supply its Size, Scotts, Bank and Chausport stores, is building a £20m warehouse in Rochdale.

Jobs that will go at the Peterlee base, which was previously run by Blacks and First Sports, include drivers and those who run its returns section.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “I am absolutely devastated by the announcement.

“We are haemorrhaging jobs from the area at an alarming rate and something should be done about it.

“I lay the blame firmly at the doorstep of the Government we are under.

“What they are doing is counter-productive. Some of their policies are ruining the job sector in the area and we can not afford to let it go on.

“They have cancelled the building of schools and a hospital, and the warehouse in Peterlee is just one the consequences of what they are doing.

“I feel for the workers of the warehouse because it means more unemployment in our area.”

One worker, who did not want to be identified, added: “This has been going on for about two years now, but everyone feels like they’ve been left in the dark over what’s going on.

“Morale is pretty poor. Everyone just thinks we’ve been left to get on with it.

“They said they would give us help to train and find new jobs, but they’ve not and we all feel let down.

“Jobs were offered in Rochdale, but that’s obviously some distance away from Peterlee.”

He said an agency “was working with the firm to help those due to lose their posts find new jobs”.

The warehouse was bought by JD Sports when it acquired First Sport from Blacks, in 2002.

Nobody at JD Sports was available to comment.