Dyfed-Powys Police has urged residents living in rural ears to become the “eyes and ears” of their community following a spate of thefts from farms during the past week.

Raiders made off with eight galvanised steel gates from various farms in the Cardigan and north Pembrokeshire areas in recent days.

The thieves would have required a van or lorry to remove the gates, which each measured around 12-feet wide.

Sgt Gareth Jones said: “There are additional challenges in rural communities compared to our other areas.

“The loss of equipment, metal and livestock may not be noticed immediately, and its detection can often be difficult and it has an impact on people’s livelihoods.

“Police will do everything we can to help, and one of the most vital things the farming community can do is to help us build up a picture of who is behaving suspiciously around farms.

“Many agricultural thefts are planned in advance, criminals may check out a property in a bid to assess security and property and it is this that you can help us with.

“It is also important to record any identifying features and serial numbers of items of value and keep them as secure as possible.

“Residents in rural areas also have a vital role to play by acting as eyes and ears for their farming and wider community.

“They should be vigilant and take index numbers of any suspicious vehicles. Hopefully by working together in this way we can prevent these rural crimes from happening.”

Scrap metal dealers or anyone offered gates for sale are urged to decline the offer and contact police immediately.

Sgt Jones also encouraged farmers to consider setting up a Farmwatch scheme in their areas, with advice and guidance available by calling 101.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.