An online petition was launched yesterday allowing Britons to register their opposition to plans to "export" the production of HP Sauce from Birmingham to Holland.

The "Save Our Sauce" website has been set up by a consortium of businesses which operate in the shadow of the current HP plant in Aston.

Heinz announced last week that the manufacture of the iconic British brand was to be moved abroad, leading to the loss of 125 jobs at the historic Aston site.

Ian Bennett, managing director of Aston-based website developer Crystal Presentations, said his firm had been happy to add its expertise to the "Save Our Sauce" campaign, which also has the backing of local MPs.

Mr Bennett said: "All our staff love HP sauce. As soon as we heard the dreadful proposals, we knew we must act quickly, in solidarity with the HP workforce, to protect our heritage and our world-famous neighbour.

"The key now is to secure as much support as possible and build a successful campaign."

Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said he was delighted to launch and give his support to the website,

The MP added: "I will be asking the Heinz management not only to retain their investment here in Aston, but also to look at ways of expanding and encouraging further investment which will provide an economic benefit to the community.

"The factory is not only a local employer, but the sauce itself relies upon Aston water from wells underneath the factory for its unique flavour." ..SUPL: