A NORTH-EAST dog accessory firm is creating news jobs after securing a £5m deal.

The Accapi Group, based in Stanley, County Durham, has won exclusive rights to distribute products from US dogwear firm Ruffwear to 21 countries across Europe.

The deal extends Accapi's position as a distributor of Ruffwear products, having already sent it across the UK, France and Lithuania.

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Ruffwear's products include boots to protect dogs' paws on rough terrain, jackets to keep animals cools, backpacks and collars, with its equipment also used by police sniffer dogs in rescues.

Accapi bosses say the agreement means it needs to take on new workers, with ten sales positions expected to be filled early this year.

The firm already employs ten workers and has German Frauke Gamblin as head of international customer service.

Founded in 2009 by entrepreneur and climbing fanatic George Heydon, Accapi is also run by co-owner ad chief executive Andrew Geere.

Mr Geere said: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Ruffwear into Europe following three-and-a-half years of successful growth in the UK, France and Lithuania.

“An exciting range of new products and major investment in European infrastructure and marketing activity by Accapi and Ruffwear will make the world's leading adventure dog brand much more accessible to the consumer in every market.”

Dove Gibson, Ruffwear director of sales, added: “We are taking the successful partnership between Ruffwear and Accapi to a new level.

“Accapi has excelled with Ruffwear performance dog gear throughout the UK and we’re looking forward to partnering with them in Europe.”