Did these chunks of rubber go down with the Titanic? Hundreds of pieces of century-old flotsam wash up on beaches around Britain - as well as France, Holland and even Sweden

Mystery continues to surround the origin of the 100-year-old fragments of rubber that have been washing up on the shores of Britain and northern Europe for the last two years. Last week, conservationists cleared more than 100 rubber sheets, two rolls of rubber, three rubber ingots and several tablets from Chesil Beach in Dorset. Some theorists believe the pieces could date back to the Titanic - and may have risen to the water's surface after being contained for more than a century in the lost wreckage of the ship - which sunk in April 1912. Most of the pieces are engraved with the name Tjipetir - an early 20th century rubber plantation in Java, Indonesia. And their perfectly-preserved quality is alarming environmentalists and sparking fears over why supposedly biodegradable materials have remained completely intact.