Own account operator Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) plans to axe its direct store delivery operation later this year.

The drinks firm’s plans will affect its sites in Bristol, East Kilbride, north London, Northampton, Sidcup in south-east London and Wakefield.

A CCE spokeswoman said: “We propose to partner with wholesalers to offer our remaining direct delivery customers a route to market, building on the services these third parties already provide. Under these proposals we would continue to operate a bulk and mid bulk service.”

Discussions are not expected to finish until late July, when the 90-day consultation process comes to an end, the spokeswoman added.

Unite, which represents 160 drivers and warehouse staff out of the 288 jobs at risk, said the news was a "devastating blow" for staff.

The CCE spokeswoman was unable to comment on whether another operator had been chosen to take on some of its deliveries.