CLOSE to 30 jobs are believed to have been lost this week as local firm Scotlight ceased trading.

It is understood staff and employment officials were told of the company's problems last week.

And the firm's offices and retail outlets in Peebles and Innerleithen didn't re-open on Monday.

The Peeblesshire News has attempted, without success, to contact directors and senior staff throughout this week.

Both Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Borders Council have also been trying to establish the latest situation.

But a multi-agency PACE - Partnership Action for Continuing Employment - event is being arranged for next week in an attempt to help the 28 members of staff find alternative work.

A spokesman for Scottish Borders Council told us: "A PACE event will take place on Thursday, June 29 between 1pm and 3pm in Peebles Community Centre for Scotlight workers.

“This event will ensure all staff can receive advice and guidance so they can consider what their best options are at this difficult time.”

Last year Scotlight celebrated its 20th birthday.

Set up as a one-man business in 1996 by Tom Fraser in a converted Innerleithen garage.

Four years later Scotlight became a limited company and moved to new offices with warehouse facilities.

Expansion continued over the following decade into commercial markets, the creation of an electrical department and the Scotlight Direct online site.

It went on to win the several regional and national awards.

In 2014 Scotlight opened a new office in Peebles and expanded further the following year into other trades, such as heat engineering, plumbing and decorating.

During 2015/16 it recorded an annual turnover of £1.8 million and was considered one of the great business successes in the region.

Local councillor Stuart Bell, who was business portfolio holder on the local authority for five years, admits he is shocked by this week's developments.

Councillor Bell added: "I am as mystified as everyone else as to what has happened at Scotlight.

"It is plain to see that their prominent shop and showroom on Innerleithen High Street is closed.

"The council and its partners need to now do everything they can to support the employees if the company is actually in difficulties.

"I understand there are potentially 28 affected staff – a number of whom I have met as I was a customer of Scotlight some years ago.

"I found Scotlight to be a very professional and efficient company with a fine group of employees.

"I really hope that something positive comes out of the current confusion – particularly something positive for the staff and I call on the Council and its partners to do all it can to help.”