Monkfield Nutrition moves near Mepal creating up to 50 jobs

PUBLISHED: 12:39 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:26 26 March 2018

Arthur Rickwood site Mepal. Picture: Steve Williams.

Arthur Rickwood site Mepal. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A multi-million pound business selling crickets, locusts, worms, snakes and tortoises has moved near Mepal and will be creating up to 50 jobs, it has been confirmed.

Monkfield Nutrition has taken over the former Arthur Rickwood Experimental Husbandry Farm just off the A142 between Chatteris and Mepal.

It follows their application being approved by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

The company supplies reptiles, reptile related products and reptile food to pet shops, zoos, schools and universities across the UK and Ireland.

It began trading in South Cambs in the village of Wendy from where its expansion has continued and has become the largest breeder of captive bred reptiles in the UK.

Expansion continued with room needed for snakes, lizards, tortoises and breeding leopard geckos, later renting space at Bourn airfield.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We currently have 70 people on site and hope to create 30 to 50 jobs in the near future.

“We moved to the site in January.”

Monkfield sell between 700,000 and 800,000 locusts per week, and they are packed by number into small plastic tubs, polypropylene bags and cardboard boxes, again depending on customer preference.

They also produce around 2 to 2.5 million crickets a week from their South Cambs site and a further 1 to 1.5 million at another site.

The announcement of jobs at Monkfield comes as unemployment has risen across Fenland and East Cambridgeshire – going against the national trend.

Julia Nix, district manager at Jobcentre Plus, said: “This is great news that jobs are available at Monkfield.

“It is still a buoyant local market and there are a range of jobs full and part time available.”

The site in Mepal Fen was given to the nation for experimental husbandry purposes by Alderman Arthur Samuel Rickwood CBE of Chatteris in 1963.

He became one of the country’s most progressive and well-known farmers having started with an acre of land given to him by his father, William.

Ald Rickwood built up a farming empire covering 9,000 acres in the Isle of Ely, Norfolk and Suffolk. He earned himself the titles of ‘The Carrot King’ and ‘The Farming Millionaire’.

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