AN engineering consultancy firm has ceased trading, with up to 30 jobs affected, The Northern Echo understands.

Stapleton International, in Darlington, is believed to have entered liquidation.

Staff found out at a meeting with bosses.

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The company, founded in 1972, provided consultancy services to engineering and construction firms, specialising in the resolution of disputes on major projects, as well as project management.

It worked with Siemens and secured projects on Teesside with Conoco Phillips and Lucite.

According to its last set of results, for the year ended December 31, the company was owed £2.6m from debtors.

Stapleton has not answered calls from The Northern Echo, which contacted its offices in Darlington’s Stanhope Road South, in Darlington, London, Manchester and Aberdeen.

A worker said: “We were called into a meeting to be told what was happening.

“They had a lot of people that were not paying.

“It’s disappointing for everyone.

“I’m not suggesting any blame or anything untoward; it’s just a real shame.”

The company’s Darlington base was its global head office, with further branches in Singapore, Texas, Dubai and Perth, Australia.

It is understood the firm is looking to sell those sites.

Two years ago, the company told The Northern Echo it was on course to lift turnover to £20m by the end of the decade after opening offices in Australia and the Middle-East to serve oil and gas markets.

At the time, group managing director Bob Breeze said it aimed to have £20m turnover by 2020.

He said: “The history of being in Darlington comes from the North Sea oil construction boom in the 1970s.

“We are very focused on the energy sector, power generation and infrastructure projects.

“You have strong demand for oil and gas and you have to go deeper and deeper under the earth to recover it.

“You need bigger and better equipment to get it out of the ground and that has to be supplied and transported.

“To do that, you need people with the right experience.”