A FAMILY-OWNED travel firm has bought a new depot to shift its expansion up a gear.

Stanley Travel has taken on the former Arriva base at Morrison Busty, near Annfield Plain, County Durham.

Bosses say the depot will give the company more room and cater for increased coaches as it seeks to meet rising demand.

The business employs more than 70 staff who help customers, such as Sunderland Football Club and basketball side Newcastle Eagles, get around the country.

Founded in 1961 by Robert and Ann Scott, and now overseen by directors Ian Scott and Andrew Scott, the firm has a 75-strong fleet of vehicles, ranging from four-seater taxis to double decker buses.

Ian Scott said Morrison Busty will be used to clean, service and fuel its fleet, while freeing up space at its main site at Oxhill Farm, in nearby Stanley.

He said: “We have had our best year in business this year; demand is up across the board with the holiday coach side and general private hire parts of the business growing quickly.

“We have just ordered two more coaches for early 2016, so this new depot comes just at the right time.

“We have outgrown our current depot and needed some more room.

“This site became available at the right price so we decided to take it.”

The company was helped on the deal, which was secured by paying an undisclosed sum, by Newcastle-based law firm, Ward Hadaway.

Alex Wright, property partner, added: “It is terrific to be able to play a part in helping a well-established company continue its growth.”