A Maryport business is celebrating after receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds towards research and development of its product range.

Harbourside Products spent two years and over £200,000 reinventing the way it smokes its fish and creating a whole new range of premium pâtés and terrines.

It also enabled them to invent an entirely new way of slicing smoked salmon in order to reduce wastage.

After the research the company was able to come up with totally new recipes for their range of pâtés and terrines, go back to the drawing board on the salmon smoking process and fine tune the salting and drying stages.

They then received a £165,000 injection of government incentives towards this development.

The family-run business produces fine smoked products that are sold all over Britain and are exported.

Many of their products are sold in Italy.

Richard Hodgson, 50, runs the company with his cousin John Haywood, 55, after they bought the factory in 2015.

It had already been part of the family business before it was sold in 2009, but, after the purchaser moved on from the premises, they spotted an opportunity to re-enter the market.

The move saved 60 jobs and ensured that fish smoking continued in the town.

Mr Hodsgon said: "We had claimed research and development tax relief before but not on this scale, so this time around we had no idea the business would be in line for a windfall of this size.

“Now that we’ve benefited, it really underlines how worthwhile all the R&D was. "We have a business that is comfortably producing food that is head and shoulders above the competition in terms of quality, and we’ve been rewarded on a massive scale for doing the work that got us here.

“The claim ended up being game changing in terms of how likely we are to keep innovating in the future.

"We have been able to recoup a significant chunk of our turnover and that ultimately helps protect the business and local jobs.”

The new range of products included premium pâtés and terrines of chicken, duck, game, ham hock and rabbit.

Harbourside now has 65 staff in total, and the company has a turnover of £4.5million.

R&D tax relief was introduced by the government in 2000 to incentivise innovation, and result in either a reduction in a limited company’s corporation tax bill or a cash lump sum.

Harbourside’s claim was made through tax relief specialists Catax.

Mark Tighe, chief executive of R&D tax relief specialists Catax, said: "We’re delighted for Richard and his colleagues. Harbourside is a perfect example of how R&D tax relief can unlock valuable injections of capital when a company’s activities are looked at in detail.

“The R&D tax relief scheme is actually quite generous and that’s really the point. The Government wants companies to use it and keep on innovating, and we’re sure that’s what Harbourside will continue to do.

“The sums available can make all the difference to SMEs carving out a name for themselves in new markets and with new, improved products.”

Many firms don’t realise the work they do qualifies as R&D, which is defined as any work that seeks to resolve a scientific or technological uncertainty, whether that’s a new process, product or service. R&D work does not need to have been successful to qualify and claims can be made up to two years beyond the end of the tax year in which the work took place.