A man thought to be in his late 50s has died after part of a cliff collapsed onto a beach at Thorpeness in Suffolk as he was walking his dog.

Following numerous 999 calls police were called to the scene by the ambulance service at about 1.25 pm today (14 January) and a rescue operation launched.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Aldeburgh, Shingle Street, Lowestoft, Southwold and Felixstowe, a search and rescue helicopter from Lydd, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, Suffolk Police, members of the Aldeburgh RNLI lifeboat station, East England Ambulance Service and a police helicopter all took part in a doomed attempt to save the man.

Suffolk Police said the incident is being treated as non-suspicious and will prepare a file for the coroner. The man has not yet been named.

An eyewitness who didn't wish to be named told the Ipswich Star: "The emergency service response was tremendous. There were 50 or 60 people who were desperately trying to dig the man free."

In a statement Maritime Operations Controller for UK Coastguard Bev Allen said: "This was a large-scale search and rescue effort in which multiple agencies worked together to free the trapped person. We ask people to please stay away from this particular area while the emergency services are at work.

"We would remind people to be mindful when out walking on the coast. Standing on cliff edges and at the base of a cliff are dangerous places to be as it is impossible to predict when the next piece might fall or how big it will be."

It is unclear if the collapse was connected with poor weather in the East Anglia area. A predicted storm surge for parts of the East Coast failed to materialise and residents have been allowed to return to their homes.