Suffolk Police say an attack on school pupils in Beccles by a man in a balaclava was not a "random assault".

Police believe that the perpetrator of the assault on three school children may be linked to an attempted hit-and-run in the area just days earlier.

The police statement comes as staff at a school are "monitoring the area" to make sure pupils stay safe.

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Neil Ketteringham, headteacher at SET BecclesNeil Ketteringham, headteacher at SET Beccles (Image: Newsquest)

SET Beccles headteacher, Neil Ketteringham, says his staff are going "above and beyond" to ensure the safety of pupils in their travels to and from school.

He said: "Our primary concern is always the safety of our students, so the recent news is very concerning and shocking to us.

"We are going above and beyond to ensure this by having eight to ten staff members monitoring the area before and after school.

"And have also been working closely with Suffolk Police in their investigations to ensure the perpetrator can be brought to justice."

Beccles & Bungay Journal: The Premier Store at the top of Rigbourne Hill where the assaults happened The Premier Store at the top of Rigbourne Hill where the assaults happened (Image: Google)

The assault took place at around 8.15 am by the Premier Store at Castle Hill on February 2.

A man wearing a balaclava got out of a car passenger seat and punched several of the school children.

Officers are linking it to an earlier incident on January 30, when a motorist drove at a pupil crossing the road near the school.

On January 30, at around 8.25 am the driver of a white VW car drove at speed at a pupil crossing the road in Castle Hill, narrowly missing him.

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A police spokesperson said: “It doesn’t appear to be a random assault and our investigations continue.”

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Former Beccles town mayor and Suffolk County councillor Caroline ToppingFormer Beccles town mayor and Suffolk County councillor Caroline Topping (Image: Newsquest)

Suffolk County councillor Caroline Topping, who lives in the town, said: "It is "totally unacceptable that young people, walking to school, should be subject to this sort of behaviour and assault."

Anyone who can help with the investigations is asked to contact Suffolk Police at 101.

The crime reference for the assault is 37/6485/23 and the crime reference for the January 30 attempted hit-and-run incident is 37/6467/23.