Dog thefts rise by 169% in Dyfed-Powys area in 2017

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Jack Russells were the most stolen breed in the Dyfed-Powys area

Dogs in mid and west Wales are among the most likely to be stolen in the UK, according to new figures.

Research by The Insurance Emporium found dog thefts in the Dyfed-Powys force area rose from 23 in 2016 to 70 last year - a rise of more than 200%.

The figures showed the area to be the third highest in the UK in terms of theft by population density, behind Lincolnshire and West Yorkshire.

However, South Wales Police saw a 75% reduction in dog thefts last year.

The UK-wide survey saw an overall increase of 25% in the crime, with 2,017 dogs stolen across England and Wales in 2017.

One large haul in Carmarthenshire saw 15 West Highland terriers and King Charles spaniel puppies taken in October.

Jack Russells were the most stolen breed in the Dyfed-Powys area, while French bulldogs were the most commonly taken in South Wales and Gwent areas.

The Insurance Emporium Chief Executive Officer Francis Martin said: "Dog theft is a devastating crime and when it happens all you want to do is get your pet back as soon as possible."

Campaigner and co-founder of Pet Theft Awareness Richard Jordan said: "We actually want to pay tribute to the police for starting to take this type of crime more seriously.

"We're campaigning for a change in the law to have pet theft recognised as a specific crime because as things are it's classed no differently to having your bicycle stolen."

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman said the force "has new crime recording practices which has meant we are better at more accurately reflecting the crime reported to us within our crime statistics, providing a better service to our communities".