A MAJOR distributor of outdoor sports equipment has announced £3.8m plans to relocate to bigger premises and create new jobs.

Dent-based Lyon Equipment specialises in equipment for absailing, climbing and rescues – but large contracts have seen the firm outgrow its 40-year home.

Directors say the company will shut its manufacturing plant and warehouse at Rise Hill Mill and move to a purpose-built factory at Tebay next year.

Building work will begin this month on thea new headquarters and manufacturing hub at a site close to junction 38 of the M6 for 76 staff.

Meanwhile the Dent base, where the company first formed as Lyon Ladders in the early 1970s, is set to be demolished.

Bosses decided that ‘winding’ roads surrounding the base were no longer suitable for their vehicles, which supply outdoor leisure equipment to fitness retailers and vertical access equipment to oil rig companies.

Managing director Jonathan Capper said: “We are crammed into our space at Dent. We have more orders than we can cope with. Our new plans will mean we can develop more highly specialist products like harnes-ses for maritime and coastguard rescue missions and open a new showroom to display them to customers.

“Hopefully, all our staff can make the move to facilities at Tebay, which has much better access.”

The company has planning permission for a two-storey, 1,800 square metres purpose-built site and has appointed contractors to start work this month.

Lyon Equipment is set to recruit two new members of staff in readiness for the expansion and expects to take on more after their relocation.

The firm hopes to increase turnover from its manufacturing from £500,000 to £1m in the next three years.

Directors say extra distribution contracts their expansion will allow should see overall turnover grow from £17.5m to £24m by 2015.