VBites - creating jobs at a new facility in Englands north east.

VBites - creating jobs at a new facility in England's north east.

Vegan food manufacturer VBites has bought a former PepsiCo factory in County Durham in England's north east.

The Brighton, UK-based Vegan Bites - run by animal rights advocate and Paul McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills - has vowed to bring jobs back to the area after deciding to manufacture products in the north east of England rather than, as originally planned, in Austria.

PepsiCo closed the Walkers Crisps facility in Peterlee last year leading to the loss of 355 jobs.

Mills, who comes from the area, said she acquired the six-hectare site after hearing that a friend who had worked there had lost her job.

Speaking on television channel ITV's This Morning programme, she said "I go back to my home town - and I am about to build a factory in Austria - and I find out my friend has lost her job. So I bought the Walkers Crisps factory to bring all the jobs back again."

VBites sells a range of plant-based meals. It already has two UK factories, one in Corby, Northamptonshire, and another in the north east, near Newcastle. 

In September the company announced it was entering three central European markets after securing a deal with retailer Hofer, a subsidiary of German value supermarket chain Aldi.