A DARWEN firm which makes ties for high-profile firms including Manchester United has announced a £250,000 expansion.

Bosses at DHJ Weisters, which welcomed Mayor of London Boris Johnson during a whistle-stop tour of the town last week, expect to create three new jobs with the expansion.

The firm, in Moss Fold Road, has commandeered a new space within its Anchor Mill site and is preparing it for the arrival of two new weaving looms.

Other firms to have had ties made by the firm, which is based in Darwen and has a further site in Cheshire, include Jamie Oliver’s restaurants, Jaguar, Porsche, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool FC.

It also makes ties for institutions such as the Salvation Army and the Royal British Legion.

The firm, which turns over £4million a year, employs 65 people across its two sites, with 38 in Darwen, and can produce 35,000 ties a week when at capacity.

Operations director Gerard Knight said: “This is quite a big investment for the weaving industry. We will be able to increase tie production and it also enables us to be more energy-efficient.

“Some of the old looms are not as efficient as they used to be, so these will be a lot greener.”

Mr Knight said there weren’t many tie weaving companies still in business in the UK.

He said: “You don’t hear many weaving mill success stories in this country any more. A lot of it is done overseas in places like China but we can cater for smaller orders and make a better quality product.

“But I think there are only three or four companies in Britain still making ties.”

As well as ties, the firm makes products such as bridal fabric and badges that can be stitched on to clothes.

The weaving mill dates back as far as 1932 when German-born Godfrey Weisters started up the business.

Current managing director Duncan Weisters is the great-grandson of Godfrey, ensuring the firm has stayed in the family.