AN electronics firm has delivered an early Christmas present to people in one of the region's unemployment blackspots.

Woo One, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool, unveiled expansion plans yesterday for its factory, which will quadruple its workforce, bringing another 300 jobs to the town.

The news was greeted with delight by civic leaders and bosses at the Korean-based company.

Workers were told of the development on the day that the Korean Ambassador Sung Hong Choi visited the site. During the visit, he said: "I am very impressed with the progress of Woo One has made since arriving in Hartlepool.

"The growth in production is quite remarkable and the company has an excellent relationship with the local council."

The company, which has a workforce of 100, has been manufacturing personal computer monitor cases for Samsung since it was established in 1996.

It has now been won a further contract to produce microwave oven doors.

As part of the expansion plans, Woo One is also setting up its own tooling business, which will mean that it will be able to employ more people.

The majority of the new jobs will be for machine operators and assembly workers and will be created in the town during the next three years.

The expansion was helped by a Regional Selective Assistant grant of £250,000 from the Government, via the Department of Transport and Industry.

The good news for Hartlepool's workforce comes at a time when the town is enjoying its lowest unemployment figure since the 1960s.

Although higher than in other parts of the country, unemployment there is at 7.9 per cent.

Hartlepool Mayor Frank Rogers said: "This is further good news on the jobs front for Hartlepool and should help in the continuing efforts to reduce unemployment."

Woo One has scored great success since it arrived in the North-East.

In its first year, its workers produced 240,000 computer monitors . Four years on, that figure has increased tenfold to 2.4m a year, out-performing the company's factories in Korea.