Two men who were involved in a string of thefts from farms and businesses across Suffolk during which agricultural equipment and machinery worth more than £130,000 was stolen have each been jailed for four years and six months.

Sentencing 35-year-old James Mitchell and 22-year-old Luke Booth, both of Woodlands Way, West Meadows, Ipswich, Recorder Sarah Przyvylska, described the thefts as “planned and sophisticated”.

She said the offences had caused trauma to the victims who had been trying to earn a living in challenging times and some had had to pay for extra security at their premises following the thefts.

Sudbury Mercury: James MitchellJames Mitchell (Image: SUFFOLK POLICE)

The judge praised police for their investigation which resulted in the defendants being arrested.

The men admitted conspiracy to steal over a three-month period towards the end of last year.

Mitchell asked for three further offences to be considered and Booth asked for 23 further offences to be taken into consideration.

Charles Judge, prosecuting, said that during the conspiracy agricultural equipment and machinery worth £133,000 was stolen.

Sudbury Mercury: Luke BoothLuke Booth (Image: SUFFOLK POLICE)

He said the defendants were traced through the vehicles they used to commit the offences, cell site analysis and by a police officer identifying them from CCTV footage.

The 20 premises targeted by the men included Boydland Farm, off London Road, Capel St Mary, during which a trailer, a ride-on mower, a hand mower, a hedge trimmer and a leaf blower were stolen; Public Sewer Services at Green Farm, Great Finborough; A E White Surfacing Ltd, Green Farm, Great Finborough; the Engine Room at Snape Maltings during which a utility vehicle was stolen; Loose Hall Farm, Hitcham, during which a quad bike was stolen; a farm in Vicarage Lane, Wherstead; Hadleigh Enterprise Park; Daltons Farmhouse, Plough Lane, Leavenheath, during which three strimmers, three chainsaws and six leaf blowers were stolen and Akenham Hall Farm during which a Land Rover Discovery was stolen.

The conspiracy also included the theft of three motorcycles, a tipping trailer, a leaf blower, a wood chopper, a flatbed trailer and a quad bike.

Simon Gladwell for Mitchell said his client, who has four children, wanted to put his criminal past behind him as soon as possible and to start a crime-free life.