The police officer now leading the rural beat in Suffolk has met with members of the business community.

Representatives of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) raised some of the key issues facing rural businesses in the county when they met with Sergeant Chris Green.

He took up the post in March, succeeding Sgt Brian Calver who has moved to another role having overseen rural policing for more than six years.

Sgt Green was joined by his colleague Inspector Claire Simons as he met with CLA East Surveyor Tim Woodward and CLA Suffolk branch president Graham Downing.

Topics covered included fly-tipping, theft of farm machinery and GPS equipment, burglaries, hare coursing and general farm security.

CLA Surveyor Tim Woodward said: “Many of our members have concerns over rural crime and are often victims so it is crucial for us to develop relationships with the police so that we can raise any issues they have.

"It was an extremely constructive meeting and we will continue to have regular contact with Sgt Green and his colleagues to ensure rural crime is a priority for the force.”

A recent report from Durham University concluded many crimes are committed by "prolific rural offenders" rather than opportunistic individuals. 

These intentionally victimise rural communities in multiple ways - including through violence and intimidation - during long and sustained criminal careers, the study - commissioned by the National Rural Crime Network - suggested.

Mr Woodward said: “This report demonstrates why it is so important for the police to take rural crime seriously.

"Well-established criminal gangs are dumping huge quantities of waste, coursing and poaching, stealing machinery and often moving it abroad – this is not small-scale or opportunistic crime.”

The CLA has launched a series of "missions"  - including one focused on rural crime - as part of its Rural Powerhouse campaign.