A fire has destroyed about 250 tonnes of Jersey Royal potatoes being taken by ferry to Portsmouth.

Three trailers were gutted and other haulage vehicles damaged when the fire broke out on Tuesday evening. Half the ship's potato cargo, which was destined for UK supermarkets and had an estimated retail value of £780,000, was destroyed.

The cause of the fire is being investigated but it is thought to have been an electrical fault.

The fire is the third major problem to have hit Jersey Royal growers this year following a series of crop thefts and a severe drought. "I'm braced for the phone call to tell me the swarm of locusts has attacked the crop," said Tom Binnet, MD of The Jersey Royal Company.

Shipping company Huelin-Renouf has diverted some of its Guernsey vessels to Jersey to pick up additional loads to transport to the UK mainland.