A Walsall bakery group, with 1,550, staff has gone into administration after failing to overcome tough trading conditions and a fire at one of its factories.

Rathbones Bakeries, which had sales of £100 million last year, suffered the blaze at Carlisle in February.

Corporate recovery experts from KPMG will now attempt to secure a sale of the business while continuing to run existing operations.

Rathbones, which also features Harvestime and Fresha Bakeries, employs 444 staff at its Walsall head office.

It only moved its headquarters from Gloucester to Walsall 12 months ago. Rathbones was bought from Irish- based Greencore by Northamptonbased Finedon Mill for 30 million euros (£20.6 million) in April of last year, alongside a separate deal for Harvestime and Fresha Bakeries from William Price & Sons.

As well as difficult trading conditions, Rathbones was hit by the fire that gutted the Carlisle site and caused damage costing millions of pounds. Around 185 people worked at the factory.

Some Carlisle residents blamed the fire on the presence of a boulder in a local gallery that had the words of a local medieval curse inscribed upon it.