PLASTICS firm Tecform has proved its products are a work of art - with a contract for the Louvre art gallery and museum in Paris.

Workers from the South Shields company have just completed work on custom-made display cases which will house priceless drawings at the museum, which houses the Mona Lisa and other famous masterpieces.

The drawings include sketches which led to the formation of the French capital, some of which date back to the 13th Century.

Bosses at Tecform sealed the deal after making contact during a four-day trade mission to Paris in November.

Tecform is a sales division of the Bend It Shape It Company (Bisico), which specialises in point-of-sale material and which already works with top French names including Euro-Disney, Coco-Chanel and Christian Dior.

George Miller, Tecform's managing director, said: "We already have a sales representative in Paris who has helped us break into Continental Europe, but this lead came through the trade mission.

"Thanks to the work of South Tyneside Council's Economic Development Team, organising the deal couldn't have been easier."

Funded by the Government's Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) and backed by the North- East Chamber of Commerce, the French trade mission was designed to help create opportunities to break into new markets and for South Tyneside Council to cultivate links with its twin towns of Noisy-le-Sec and Epinay-sur-Sienne, on the outskirts of Paris.

Tecform began as a general fabricator in 1979, but moved into point-of-sale manufacturing in 1982. The company employs 26 staff