Northumberland-based Penny Petroleum is set to expand its forecourt estate with the purchase of three additional sites.

The group, which currently operates 28 petrol retail stations, will buy three sites in Tyneside and County Durham with the help of a £1m-plus funding package from Santander Corporate & Commercial.

There are also five other sites in the pipeline, as well as plans for its first convenience store, which will be based in Newcastle.

David Penny, owner of Penny Petroleum, said he expected to grow the estate to 40 sites by the end of 2016.

“We had 20 outlets a year ago and I credit our success to our excellent business model and ambition of our new management team,” he added.

“The funding from Santander has been vital to our growth plans and their knowledge and understanding of the sector has been invaluable.”