AN internal investigation has been mounted by a North-East company that produces passports and banknotes after a number of members of staff were reportedly escorted off the premises.

The Northern Echo understands three members of staff were removed from the premises of De La Rue in Team Valley Trading Estate, in Gateshead, yesterday.

A spokesperson for De La Rue said: “This is an internal matter and we are taking the necessary steps to bring it to a swift and full resolution.”

Earlier this year, the company abandoned its plans to fight the Government in court over the loss of a £490m contract to print UK passports.

The company had lost the 10-year contract to continue printing British passports at its plant in Gateshead to French-Dutch rival Gemalto.

The company confirmed in April its full year earnings would be hit by a write-off of about £4 million related to the bid costs.