The second highest number of cruelty and neglect offences in Wales last year were recorded by Dyfed-Powys Police, figures from NSPCC reveal.

Child neglect - the most common type of abuse affecting children in the UK - has almost doubled during a five-year period in Wales.

Last year 478 crimes were logged by the four Welsh police forces in 2017/18, rising from 291 over the same period in 2012/13.

The highest number of offences in 2017/18 were recorded by Gwent Police (145), followed by Dyfed-Powys (136), South Wales (123) and North Wales (74).

Des Mannion, the head of NSPCC Cymru/Wales, said: “It’s unclear exactly why the number of child neglect and cruelty offences has risen so dramatically, but greater public awareness and improvements in how police record offences could be factors along with deeper societal issues.

“Whatever the reasons for the increase child neglect is everybody’s problem and we all need to be aware of vulnerable children and be ready to report it to the NSPCC or the authorities if we are concerned for their safety or wellbeing.

“We are appealing to the generous nature of the public to support our ‘Light For Every Childhood’ Christmas Appeal to help us be there for even more young people in need.”

Recorded police offences of this type reveal only a small part of the picture as social workers work with families when parents cannot meet the needs of their child, and put a plan in place to prevent issues from escalating.

The NSPCC Christmas Appeal is calling for donations to its helpline - which is open all year round.