AN AREA of the beach was closed after part of a groyne collapsed.

Large chunks of the Grade II listed Albion Groyne, near the Brighton Palace Pier, crumbled and fell on Saturday.

The stone work broke off from the groyne after being battered by high winds and strong waves.

Ricky Wells visited the pier to see the damage after his son had told him what had happened.

The 54-year-old, who lives in Clifton Street, Brighton, said: “I came down to have a look at it.

“I was just thinking, it was only last month that I came down to watch the jet pack record attempt and I was stood just about where the wall has fallen on to the beach there.

“I remember there was a man with his child watching and his child was perched on the wall, right on the part which has fallen off.

“You always work on the assumption that things are as solid as a rock.

“But this is a bit of a shock and it definitely makes you question how safe these things are and if they are not as safe as they look.”

Fences have been put in place to stop people going on to the beach to the west of the pier.

A series of signs have also been stuck in the pebbles in front of the groyne, warning people of the “danger” of going near the collapsed structure.

The collapse follows months of extreme weather conditions in the South East.

Last month promenade benches were torn from the tarmac and tossed on to the beach, recycling bins were ripped from their fixings.

A total of 25 of the new recycling bins were torn from their fixings.

Tonnes of beach pebbles were pushed up on to the promenade, three beach huts were damaged and benches were blown along the promenade.

This weather returned at the weekend with winds reaching almost 50mph.

A council spokesman said: “Parts of the Albion groyne near the Brighton Palace Pier have collapsed due to high seas and winds on Saturday afternoon.

“We have cordoned off the area surrounding the groyne and will be taking further measures to secure the area.

“We’re advising everyone to stay away from the groyne because the continuing stormy weather may lead to further masonry falling on to the beach.”

The groyne is made of flint and stone and the structure dates back to the 1880s. Sections of the structure needed to be rebuilt through the 20th century. It was, at one point, used as a point to receive coal deliveries. It was also a popular place to visit for Victorian tourists visiting Brighton.