A farmer has apologised for the disruption after hundreds of tonnes of sugar beet were left at the roadside between Ipswich and Claydon.

John Latham, of Blakenham Farms, had his produce left alongside Old Norwich Road as the recent wet weather has meant lorries have not been able to get on his fields.

But Suffolk Highways said the authority was unaware the sugar beet would be left there and urged for it to be removed.

On Wednesday morning, diggers and lorries arrived at the scene to begin transporting the crop to the British Sugar factory in Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Latham explained that he decided to use Old Norwich Road to store the sugar beet as lorries are not currently able to access his land as it is too wet.

Ipswich Star: The crop is being transported to Bury St EdmundsThe crop is being transported to Bury St Edmunds (Image: Charlotte Bond)

He said it was only meant to be there temporarily before being transported to British Sugar later this week – but he has brought this forward.

The farmer also said he has previously used the road, which is only open to buses and cyclists, to store his produce in previous years.

Up to 700 tonnes were at the side of the road, which blocked the cycleway, before the start of the transportation effort on Wednesday.

Mr Latham said he chose that location as it had been used late last year for the transportation of parts for a new turbine at Eye Airfield.

Ipswich Star: Lorries arrived to transport the sugar beet to British Sugar's factoryLorries arrived to transport the sugar beet to British Sugar's factory (Image: Charlotte Bond)

He said: "Because of the extreme weather conditions we've had, we tried to avoid getting mud onto the highways.

"We used to use that layby several years ago to store our sugar beet, but it's kicked off big time.

"I've since found out in the sense that the road is no longer going to be deemed a layby. No markings have been put up though, and no traffic goes through there – only buses and cyclists.

"They parked all the parts for that large generator that went up to Eye a few weeks ago, too.

"Perhaps in hindsight, I should have contacted the council and I apologise for that. We certainly didn't go out of our way to cause havoc.

Ipswich Star: John Latham, of Blakenham FarmsJohn Latham, of Blakenham Farms (Image: John Latham)

"I've been working at the farm for 37 years and never had anything like this before."

A Suffolk Highways spokesman said: "We were unaware that the produce would be left at the location. 

"The road is a live bus route and where the produce has been left is part of the cycleway and should not be used as a holding bay for produce. 

"The relevant district has been contacted but it is hoped that the owner will collect and remove as soon as possible."

Ipswich Star: The British Sugar factory in Bury St EdmundsThe British Sugar factory in Bury St Edmunds (Image: British Sugar factory at Bury St Edmunds/Su Anderson)

A spokesman for British Sugar said: "We are aware of sugar beet awaiting collection on Old Norwich Road, and have spoken to the farmer who assures us it will be moved and sent to the Bury factory by tomorrow.

"Safety and health is at the heart of all our operations and we do remind all our growers, contractors and hauliers of the importance of respecting local communities and highways in our campaign handbook, which is issued prior to the harvest each year.

"We expect them to adhere to these guidelines."