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Last Updated: Monday January 19 2009 14:39 GMT

Loads of timber floating at sea

Wood floating in English channel

Ships have been warned to steer clear of a huge pile of wood floating in the sea between England and France.

Around 1,500 tonnes of wood was lost from a Russian ship, just off the coast of south east England.

The wood was being taken by ship from Sweden to Egypt, where it was to be used by builders.

Experts think the wood is likely to start washing up on beaches in the UK, and said rough seas may have been a reason why the ship had problems.

Aircraft have been flying over the wood to see how dangerous it is to other ships.

The ship that was transporting the wood, called the Sinegorsk, isn't thought to be in any danger of sinking, and is being guided towards land by another boat.

In January 2008 around 2,000 tonnes of timber ended up on British shores after Greek ship carrying it sank off the coast of Dorset.