The singer says if the worst were to happen for the band it would "screw up years of work"…

U2 plan to release their new songs via the Internet if a stolen CD leaks, BONO has said.

As revealed by NME.COM, the band have been working on the follow-up to ’All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ for much of the year. The album, which is said to have a working title of ’Vertigo’, isn’t due until the autumn at the earliest.

During a photo session in Nice, a CD containing some new songs from the forthcoming album went missing.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Bono said that they’d be willing to release the record early, rather than face an online leak four months before release.

He said: “If it is on the Internet this week, we will release it immediately as a legal download on iTunes, and get hard copies into the shops by the end of the month. It would be a real pity. It would screw up years of work and months of planning, not to mention f**king up our holidays. But once it’s out, it’s out.”

The CD that was stolen belonged to guitarist The Edge, who said that it “doesn’t seem credible” that it could have been taken.

Band manager Paul McGuiness added: “The recording of this album has been going so well. The band is so excited about its release. It would be a shame if unfinished work fell into the wrong hands.”

Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group UK, added: “This matter is of great concern to us. As the missing CD is our property we are very keen to find it as soon as possible. The French police are being extremely helpful in this regard.”

Do you know who has the CD? If so, NME.COM will pass it onto the band for you, no questions asked. E-mail details to news@nme.com.