THE Northern Echo has been told that Cleveland Bridge - one of the great engineering icons of the North - has called in administrators, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.

Shocked staff at the company said they were told to come in and retrieve personal effects from their desks this morning.

One unnamed member of staff told us the situation was so bad they may not receive any pay. They claimed there was now a 48-hour battle to find a buyer.

Read more: 7 bridges (and a famous arch) built by Darlington's Cleveland Bridge

The company has not yet confirmed the news, but the Echo understands high-level meetings are being held later today to plan the next step.

The company's vast headquarters on Yarm Road has been a symbol of engineering excellence for generations and the news will send shockwaves across the region.

The Northern Echo:

The company is responsible for some of the greatest steelworks in the world - from Wembley Stadium Arch, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Shard in London.

Founded in the UK in 1877 and now part of the Al Rushaid Group, the company produces high-quality structural steel components at advanced manufacturing centres here and in  Dubai and Saudi Arabia and has a network of sales offices covers Europe, India, China and the Middle East, taking Cleveland Bridge expertise to clients around the world.

It produces 150,000 tonnes of precision-engineered steel every year in the highways, rail, transport infrastructure, commercial, stadia, industrial, energy and public building sectors.

In its 2019 results - which recorded turnover up 30% at £48m - the company had warned that “political uncertainty, in both the UK and Sri Lanka in early 2019 meant delays on project starts".

But the report added: "The company’s forecast and projections show that the company   will be able to operate within the level of its current facilities. The company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future."

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