THE NUMBER of Lidl items that have washed up along the Dorset coastline after a cargo ship lost containers has more than tripled in recent days – as the supermarket giant pledges to assist with the clean-up whilst an investigation gets underway.

Eighteen people have now reported spill-related items with 75 products recovered in total, say Litter Free Dorset. The previously reported findings were from seven people and 21 items in total on March 17.

With sightings now being reported at Pondfield Cove and Worbarrow Bay Lidl aim to help with the clean-up operation and are liaising with independent organisations to determine the level of help required from them.

This comes after a cargo ship heading for Lidl stores in Europe lost four containers during stormy weather.

A spokesperson for Lidl said: “Following an internal investigation, we can confirm that a container of items intended for Lidl stores in Spain fell off a cargo ship during unusually heavy seas.

“Whilst the ship is not owned or operated by Lidl, we were deeply concerned to learn of the incident and take our own commitments to tackling plastic waste extremely seriously.

“We also understand the burden that this will have placed on the communities that have been directly impacted by the spill and want to help with the clean-up operations. We are in the process of liaising with independent organisations to help determine the level of support required and endeavour to update local groups in due course.”

Furthermore, an investigation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is underway to determine the cause of the incident. Their Counter Pollution team is also liaising with local authorities to help coordinate an effective clean-up.

Litter Free Dorset previously urged the public to remove the items from the coastline and report any sightings to them, this plea still stands.

Emma Teasdale, from Litter Free Dorset said: “A big thank you to everyone who has been in touch to let us know they’ve found items from the recent container spill washing up along the Dorset coast.

“So far we’ve received 18 reports of spill related items washing ashore including 61 Air by W5 air fresheners and 14 packets of Alesto snacks.”