BOSSES at Bolton baking firm Warburtons have paid themselves £15m in dividends following the success of an ad campaign starring Hollywood legend Robert De Niro.

The 120 second advert featuring the 76-year-old double Oscar wining actor premiered in May 2019 and is now being credited for helping the family-run business return profits of £11.3m in the year to last September, reversing a £6.6m loss the year before.

The Goodfellas star travelled to the company's Hereford Street HQ in Bolton for filming alongside chairman Jonathan Warburton in the ad which promoted the firm's bagels.

At the time, De Niro said: "It was a pleasure to fly to the UK to film this ad with the Warburtons family, and star alongside Jonathan. Getting into the bagel business has been great fun, and I hope everyone enjoys the final cut.”

Warburtons, which was founded in Bolton in 1876 and employs 4,500 people at 12 sites, said sales of bread had continued to drop, but that bagels, teacakes and other lines were growing.

The brand remains the most popular bread in the UK, ahead of rivals Kingsmill and Hovis, a position it has held since 2008.

Warburton, 63, who will celebrate 20 years of chairing the business in 2021, said: “We’re proud of our Bolton roots and it was great to bring a big star like Robert De Niro here to star in our brand-new ad. As an iconic New Yorker, Robert De Niro knows his way around a bagel so it’s great to have his seal of approval."