A livestock market in Builth Wells has been taken over by a Herefordshire auctioneer firm.

Following Sunderlands purchase of Brightwells' minority shareholding of Hereford Market Auctioneers (HMA), it has also been agreed that Builth Market will come under the umbrella of HMA’s activities, running alongside Talgarth Market.

It comes after concerns about the ongoing closure of the site from the local farming community, and was welcomed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) as “most welcome”.

READ MORE: Farmers protest at Builth Wells livestock market

Builth Wells Auctioneers said on Friday (July 10), the first sale under new ownership, that almost 2,800 sheep were sold.

"Firstly huge thanks to all vendors and purchasers for their support today, an excellent show of lambs and ewes highlighted the excellent standard of stock produced in mid Wales," the auctioneers said.

In a statement, the directors of Sunderlands said: "The current situation has underlined how important it is to have a thriving home grown food industry and with this in mind Sunderlands took the view to invest further in Hereford Market Auctioneers and take on Builth Wells market to add to Talgarth market which also takes place every Friday.

"Powys has the highest density of sheep in the world and therefore further investment in this crucial part of the food chain would seem obvious to expand our part of the promotion of British Agriculture".

Catrin Price, FUW's Brecon and Radnor County Executive Officer, added: "Its closure would have had a seriously negative impact on our rural community. It is a vital life line for our farmers and we hope that the mart, under Sunderlands, has a long and prosperous future."

Prime lambs and cull ewes will be auctioned at the market every Friday.