SKIPTON-based tool and plant hire company SHC Hire has expanded into lawnmowers and other garden machinery.

SHC Hire, which has its headquarters in Carleton New Road, has bought Robertshaws Garden Machinery in Kelbrook for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition, its second in three years, sees the business expanding into the garden machinery market as well as furthering its reach into Lancashire. Described as a 'major milestone' for the firm, the Robertshaws’ Kelbrook site is SHC Hire’s tenth location across the north of England.

In 2021, SHC Hire acquired Hartley Hire for a six-figure sum, allowing the firm to expand across North Lancashire and Cumbria. Founded in 1981, SHC Hire has established itself as a top-quality supplier of plant and tool hire to trade and consumer markets, and is trusted by brands including Husqvarna, JCB, Kubota and Makita.

On top of its Skipton depot, it currently has sites in Ilkley, Ripon, Northallerton, Morecambe, Lancaster, Carnforth, Kendal and Windermere.

Robertshaws Garden Machinery was established in 1986 and has remained a family business ever since. Owners John and Mandy Wilkinson are retiring after 37 years.

SHC Hire says its acquisition of the business will allow its reputation and high standard of service to continue and secure a future for the firm’s three employees.

John and Mandy’s son, Chris Wilkinson, will head up the Robertshaws brand as depot manager under SHC’s ownership, with all current staff remaining at the business. Matthew Wilson, managing director, at SHC Hire, said: “We are delighted to welcome Chris and the whole Robertshaws team to the SHC family. As a family business ourselves, we share a lot of the same core values as Robertshaws, including our dedication to quality, safety, innovation and high standards of customer service. “Garden machinery is a new market for us, one that will add incredible value to our customers while supporting our organic growth vision.”

Chris Wilkinson, depot manager at Robertshaws, added: “We were always aware of SHC Hire as a company that shared our family values of quality and service and when we began speaking to their team it was clear that my parents’ hopes for the future of Robertshaws aligned perfectly with SHC’s vision for growth.

“The rest of the team and I are excited for this next chapter, which will allow us to take the brand to new heights under SHC Hire’s ownership.”