Thousands of plastic toy eggs wash up after Germany storm

Plastic eggs containing tiny toys (Ueberraschungseie) that were swept ashore at a beach in Langeoog (04 January 2016) Image copyright EPA
Image caption The plastic eggs were washed ashore along with a large amount of plastic rubbish and packaging

Thousands of plastic eggs containing small toys have appeared on the tiny German North Sea island of Langeoog.

The toys are reported to have come from five freight containers that were washed off a cargo ship battling its way through choppy seas.

The unexpected arrivals have delighted children on the island.

It and other parts of Germany have been battered by Storm Axel, which has caused some of the worst flooding on Germany's northern coast since 2006.

Langeoog Mayor Uwe Garrels decided to allow local kindergarten children to collect as many of the eggs - each containing little toys with Russian messages inside - as they wanted.

Storm surge floods Germany coast

Image copyright EPA
Image caption People on the island collected the plastic toys throughout Thursday

"The surprise eggs have found their way to freedom," he was was quoted by German media as saying.

The mayor said that if any foreign companies objected to this, they were invited to help gather thousands of "small plastic bags and other packaging materials" that have been washed ashore with the eggs and were polluting the island's beaches.

Towns and cities along the Baltic coast were flooded by the storm, from Kiel in the far north to the resort island of Usedom near the Polish border.

Sea levels were at one point recorded in the port of Wismar at 1.83m (6ft) above normal.

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