Clothing group Richard Roberts has closed a long-established Lincolnshire manufacturing plant, and is transferring production to other centres.

The Straven knitwear factory at Alford, near Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire closed its doors on Friday. Many of the 49 workers at the factory had worked for Straven for more than 30 years. They became employees of the Richard Roberts Group last year, when the Straven Alan Paine business was acquired by the clothing manufacturer.

Straven ladieswear dates back to the 1960s and Alan Paine menswear to 1907. Both have a reputation for high quality natural fibre knitwear.

A spokesman for Richard Roberts said that production would be switched to other plants, although he would not say where. Straven Alan Paine has factories in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, as well as Lincolnshire.

He said that Straven Alan Paine was bought last year because it was complementary to the group's upmarket and export clothing business. "We have a broad range of interests in textiles. Knitwear is a very important part of that range," he said.

By Clive Hinchliffe