The authorities are trying to trace the owner of a yacht which is believed to have broken free from its mooring. It was later found smashed and sunk in Portland Harbour.

A yacht is believed to have smashed against a pier at Portland Harbour in Dorset before sinking.

The crew of the Weymouth Inshore Lifeboat were called out on 2 August following reports of fuel and wreckage in Portland Harbour.

The RNLI, along with the Wyke Regis Coastguard team, met with the informant on the Torpedo Pier.

The Portland Port pilot vessel had also spotted debris.

A spokesman for the Wyke Coastguard said: “It was clear a vessel had sunk; the back stay was tangled alongside the pier and closer inspection revealed the mast head.”

“Very little else was visible,” added the spokesman.

A thorough search of the area was carried out by the lifeboat crew, but no casualties were found. Floatam was also collected.

CCTV footage revealed a yacht had come up against the pier around 20.30 on 1 August during strong winds.

The vessel was last seen on CCTV just before 22.00.

Wyke Coastguard said it was unable to identify the yacht from any of the wreckage found.

It is now searching for the owner of the yacht and is contacting local sailing clubs.

The vessel is believed to have broken free from its mooring.