A Midlands restaurant chain has been acquired in a substantial deal led by a North East businessman.

Pastiche Restaurants has been bought out by Paul Lilley, formerly group finance director of a private national leisure group for an undisclosed sum.

The chain consists of six restaurants in Staffordshire - Tam-worth, Stafford, Lichfield, Cannock, Burton-on-Trent, and Hanley - with a further three in York, Crewe and Bath.

Forty people are employed. No turnover figure is being released. Pastiche menus offer "great value modern European cuisine including traditional English dishes". Mr Lilley said: "Having gained valuable experience and a taste for the sector, I decided it was time to strike out on my own.

"The acquisition went very smoothly and I am now looking forward to making a continued success of the business."

He was particularly interested in acquiring strong regional brands and developing them further. Pastiche was the first he got involved with which he thought he could develop. Funding for the deal was arranged by Barclays.

Geoff Newton, relationship director in the bank's leisure team, said: "We are delighted to have funded this exciting acquisition. This business is all about people. Paul has an in depth understanding of the sector and I am confident he is going to make a success of this business."

Other advisers included accountants Richardson, Hall & Kennedy and lawyers Watson Burton. ..SUPL: