Beach clean-up operation underway

A MASSIVE clean-up operation will get underway this morningafter thousands of pieces of timber washed up on the Suffolk coastline yesterday.

Anthony Bond

A MASSIVE clean-up operation will get underway this morningafter thousands of pieces of timber washed up on the Suffolk coastline yesterday.

The pieces of wood - some up to 12ft-long - were seen on beaches from Orford Ness northwards to Aldeburgh, Dunwich, Walberswick, Southwold and Lowestoft.

Members of the public were seen taking the timber away from the beaches, with some people loading up vans.


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The wood was lost from the Russian-registered Sinegorskoff the East Sussex coast on January 19.

About a third of the 1,500 metric tonne load was recovered from beaches in Kent but the majority is now thought to be off the Suffolk coast.

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It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 pieces have so far been recovered from the Suffolk coastline.

Stephen Bournes, owner of Southwold Pier, said he had never seen anything like it.

“It was amazing. People were turning up in their cars and trucks and just stacking it up and it was really quite interesting. There was loads of wood on the beach and I bet about 30 people taking it. Lots of people came down later in the afternoon just to see it.

“There was so much wood I am thinking of extending the pier.”

Coastguards have warned that due to the weather forecast more pieces of timber are likely to arrive on the Suffolk and Norfolk coastline over the weekend.

Members of the public are urged to stay away from the affected beaches while specialist clean-up squads -using cranes and diggers - work to remove the debris.

Councillor Andrew Nunn, of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: “Some of the timber is washing up on beaches that are Sites of Special Scientific Interest, so extra care will be taken by the teams to minimise any impact on these nationally important natural areas.

“Another major issue for us is the possible impact that the timber could have on the flood defences that have been put in place at Dunwich. Any timber there needs to be carefully removed to ensure that the textile groynes are not damaged.

“As there will also be heavy machinery working on the beaches, I would ask people to keep away and let the teams get on with the job of clearing up the debris.”

Small boat users, wind or kite surfers and jet skiers are also urged to be extremely cautious if going out to sea.

Although it is not illegal for members of the public to remove the wood, those taking the timber must notify the Receiver of Wreck otherwise it becomes a criminal offence.

More details can be obtained via the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website at www.mcga.gov.uk along with a form that can be used to notify the Receiver of Wreck.

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