ONE of Hyndburn's best-known family businesses has been taken over in a move designed to safeguard its future.
Stockleys Sweets, which makes traditional confectionery such as sarsaparilla sticks, rhubarb and custard and coltsfoot rock, has been bought by the Mr Lucky Bags group.
Bosses said that the six-figure deal would allow Stockleys to widen its share of the sweet market by using the expertise and resources of its new owners.
The Mr Lucky Bags group, which is based in Stoke-on-Trent, makes surprise "lucky bags" with sweets, toys and games, and distributes them all over the world.
Managing director Robert Cawley said that the move would not jeopardise the 30 jobs at the Stockleys factory and visitor centre in Oswaldtwistle Mills.
He added that the company had simply been looking for a "change of direction" with the takeover and had not been in any difficulty.
He said: "Stockleys Sweets is a great fit with Mr Lucky Bags as there is a thread of nostalgia that runs through both our businesses."
"There is a real trend towards the good old days and people do tire of the bland homogenisation found in the high street. We are trying to give them something a little different."
Kath Lawson, general manager of Stockleys Sweets, said: "We are delighted to be part of the Mr Lucky Bags family. The extra resources and skills will undoubtedly secure the future of Stockleys and widen our market substantially."
Stockleys moved its factory to Oswaldtwistle Mills in 1994 after leaving its premises in Church Street, Church. It opened its visitors' centre - boasting the world's largest pear drop - a year later.
Current production manager Michael Stockley is the third generation of the family to have worked in the business, which was founded in Accrington in 1918 by Malcolm Stockley.