Derby-based Birds the Confectioners was forced to temporarily suspend baking when a nearby factory caught fire.

Police cordoned off a 250-metre exclusion zone due to fears a gas cylinder on Hewden Plant Hire’s site could explode. The fire service ordered Birds’ employees to evacuate the premises at 4pm on April 22 and they were not allowed back in until the next morning.

The incident meant Birds could not bake overnight. Retail operations director Mike Holling said the losses would have been worth £40,000, but fortunately, they will be covered by insurance. Birds limited any damage by putting a "crisis management" action plan into place. All 50 shops that Birds supplies were contacted, and each put up notices for customers.

Holling said: "We did manage to deliver to all but four of our shops by the end of the day, but with limited products. There were no fresh bread rolls or cream cakes, but by the next morning it was back to normal."

Birds was one of 40 businesses caught up in the drama in the busy Ascot Drive area of the town. All were closed for at least 16 hours while the fire was brought under control.

Holling said that Birds’ managing director, Patrick Bird, had summed up the event perfectly by saying the company had been around since 1919 and the Luftwaffe had never stopped it, so it was ironic that modern- day health and safety practices had done so - although only temporarily.


=== In Short ===

== Organic expansion ==

Westfields Farm Bakery in Yorkshire has expanded, with a new shop in Leyburn that opened last month. The organic bakery will sell similar products to those at its premises at Leyburn Business Park, which opened in January 2007, but the new shop has the addition of a delicatessen.

== Water backs soaps ==

Highland Spring water is to be broadcast sponsor of The British Soap Awards, for the third year running. The bottled water brand will be showing specially created visuals at the beginning and end of each commercial break, which feature a series of creatures performing well-known spoof soap scenes.

== Carrs goes to school ==

Carrs Breadmaker is helping to teach school pupils how to bake bread. It is hoped the module will be launched nationally within the next month as a free resource on Carrs’ website.

== Mouse problem ==

Polish bakery Tomas’s, in Coventry, has been formally closed by Environmental Health Officers due to an infestation of rats and mice. The matter was brought to the City Council’s attention following a sighting of rats around the premises on 1 May. An inspection was carried out the same day.

== Aulds move queried ==

Scottish politician Duncan McNeil has questioned the awarding of government funding to Aulds the Bakers, so it can move its premises to Inchinnan. Aulds has been awarded £1.1 million from the government’s Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) fund for the proposed move from Greenock to a new site in Inchinnan, next to its frozen foods factory. Aulds’ MD Alan Marr declined to comment on the situation.