High winds and stormy seas have led to further damage to one of Britain's most recognisable seaside piers.

A section of the 148-year-old, Grade-I listed West Pier in Brighton fell victim to the weather overnight.

Rachel Clark, chief executive of the West Pier Trust, which owns it, said: "There have been collapses for several weeks as we've had the high winds, but this is more significant and obvious.

"A significant section of the pavilion island skeleton has collapsed. It's very sad but it was always going to happen.

"It's not being maintained and eventually the elements are going to take their toll, and they have again this time but much more significantly."

Opened in 1866 after being designed and engineered by Eugenius Birch, the West Pier was closed in 1975 and has been deteriorating since.

In 2002, a huge storm resulted in the dramatic collapse of the south-east corner of the Concert Hall and a year later arsonists struck.

Despite the massive damage, plans to revive it were set out, but funding for the project was withdrawn by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The West Pier Trust said that with the withdrawal of lottery funding, the pier would never again be restored to its prime.

The collapsed Concert Hall, which was close to the beach, was removed in 2010 after it was deemed a public hazard.

The skeletal remains of the pier have made it a public attraction, but trust officials concede that it will eventually fall into the sea.