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Mystery as rubber block washes up on Praa Sands beach

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 14, 2014

  • A block similar to this was picked up on Praa Sands by local resident Dave Newberry.

  • A block similar to this was picked up on Praa Sands by local resident Dave Newberry.

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PRAA Sands is the latest place to be visited by a continuing maritime mystery.

A century-old rubber block, similar to ones found all over the beaches of northern Europe over the past couple of years, has washed up there.

It was found by resident Dave Newberry, who picked up the 15in x 12in tablet at the Sydney Cove end of the beach last week.

Identical tablets have washed up in numerous locations since 2012 including Northumberland, the Channel Islands, Brittany, Holland, Denmark, Germany and, most frequently, Cornwall. They are stamped with the word 'Tjipetir' – part of West Java in Indonesia and the name of a plantation where the gutta percha blocks were produced in the first decades of the 20th century.

Mr Newberry said: "At first I thought it was the name of a ship but have since looked it up on Google and found out that there seems to be quite a mystery about it.

"The name looks like something you read on the bottom of an eyesight chart but I've put it in my garden as a keepsake."

The mystery lies in where the blocks come from; it is likely that they have emerged from a long-sunk ship – and one fanciful suggestion is that they were being carried by Titanic.

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