CRIMES against businesses have more than tripled in Dyfed-Powys during the past year.

A Freedom of Information request from an Assembly Member has found that there has been a 154% increase in business crime in Newtown over the past year.

Russell George, Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, asked for the information after being contacted by business owners in the town, who expressed concern at the escalating rates of crime.

In 2016/17, 127 crimes were recorded against business premises in Newtown compared with 50 in 2015/16 and the number of crimes against business premises in Dyfed-Powys has gone up from 1,125 in 2015/16 to 3,771 crimes recorded in 2016/17.

Police have said that they are looking into the figures in more detail and say that they have been successful dealing with prolific offenders.

After receiving the response to his FOI request, Mr George said: “The significant increase in crimes against business premises in Newtown and the whole Dyfed-Powys area is a worrying trend which must be tackled.

“Crime against businesses in Newtown has more than doubled and Dyfed-Powys has seen the figure more than triple – an alarming development.

“Business owners in Newtown have contacted me to complain about the escalating crime rate which is destroying livelihoods and resulting in businesses deciding to close for good.

“I have asked the Chief Constable and the Police & Crime Commissioner to meet with me to discuss the reasons for this significant increase in reported crime and the actions which they propose to take to resolve the underlying issues which have caused the crime rate to spike.”

Chief Inspector Matt Scrase said: “We are looking into the figures in more detail to establish exactly what types of crime have increased that are affecting businesses in Newtown and will share this breakdown when available.

“While some of the increase can be attributed to a change in the way we record crimes against businesses, there is also an increase in crime that we are working with businesses to address.

“We continue to target offenders that come into Newtown to commit crime and had recent success with the arrest, charge and imprisonment of a prolific offender that had committed many burglaries in Newtown.

“To prevent crime, officers carry out hi-visibility patrols in vulnerable areas and offer crime prevention advice to businesses on how they can improve security.

“I would urge the community to report any suspicious behaviour by calling Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”