HISTORIC Padiham firm Samuel Cooke & Co has gone into administration with the loss of 86 jobs.

Administrators KPMG said a police probe has been launched into some customer dealings. But no further details have yet been revealed.

The company, which sponsored Burnley FC in their first season in the Premier League in 2009, informed staff of the news on Monday evening.

In a statement issued on Cooke’s behalf, the administrator Paul Flint said: “The business suffered an unexpected loss in relation to a specific group of customers that impaired asset value and, as a result, placed the business under a significant cash strain.

“The directors reported this position to the police, and it remains under investigation.

“Regrettably, despite the best attempts of the directors to recover from the situation, they have been unable to find a solvent solution to allow the businesses to continue to trade.”

Founded in 1845, the business became known as Samuel Cooke & Co in 1881, and went on to become one of Britain’s largest independent fuel distributors.

It acquired its current headquarters in Wyre Street in 1976 having bought out the William Hargreaves group.

As well as the distribution arm, Cooke’s sister company, Company Fuel Cards Limited, has also gone into admin-istration.

Direct Fuels Limited and its associated company, Fuelplus (UK) Limited, has already purchased the customer list of Company Fuel Cards Limited meaning there will be no disruption to the supply of services.

The administrators are now seeking buyers for the remaining assets of Samuel Cooke & Co Limited while they undertake a formal wind-down process.

Twelve staff from Cooke Fuels will be retained to assist the administrators.