The Walkers crisp factory in Peterlee is to close, it has been announced.
The shock news has been revealed by company bosses this morning.
Other company sites in the UK will continue to manufacture crisps.
Tracey Foster, Peterlee manufacturing director at PepsiCo UK, said: “In order to improve the efficiency of our UK snacks manufacturing operations, we are proposing the closure of our factory at Peterlee.
"Crisps currently produced at the site would be manufactured at our other facilities in the UK.
“Peterlee has been an important site for our business but the changes we are proposing present significant productivity and efficiency savings crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of our business in the UK.
“We appreciate this is upsetting news for everyone at the Peterlee site.
"It is a difficult proposal for us to put forward and we want to make clear that it in no way reflects the performance of our colleagues at Peterlee, who we are grateful to for their hard work and commitment.
“No decisions will be made without first consulting employees and their representatives.
"We would also like to reassure colleagues that we will be providing on-going support and assistance from this point onwards.”
One worker who has worked at the plant for two decades, but did not want to be named, said: "There are always rumours flying about but you never get rumours unless something is going to happen so I suppose it has been coming.
"The annoying thing is it seems to be keeping the shareholders in America happy ahead of everything.
"I also think it's wrong that they're paying (former footballer) Gary Lineker millions of pounds each year for him to do adverts at the same time as hundreds of people are losing their jobs."
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