An opportunist burglar who broke into a Llansantffraid farm and stole a quad bike and power tools worth nearly £7,000 has been jailed for 16 months.

Mold Crown Court heard that Neil Shevlin, 27, of Bridgnorth Street, Shifnal, admitted stealing the farm vehicle and tools during an overnight raid on November 27, 2019.

Judge Niclas Parry said: "Attacks on the rural community in Wales are on the increase and it is a matter of public concern.

"Those hard-working people rely on trust. You stole a hard-working man's working tools."

Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said the dairy farmer had noticed at around 5.45am on November 27 that all the farm gates were open. He then checked the outbuildings and found that his quad bike was missing. A padlock to the tools shed had also been forced open and tools including an angle grinder, drill and chainsaw had been stolen.

A Volkswagen Transporter van that had been hired by Shevlin was tracked close to the farm between 1.30am and 2pm on November 27. The vehicle was also traced to a petrol station on Hereford Road in Shrewsbury and the driver was identified as Shevlin.

Police arrested Shevlin at around 5am on November 29 and found the farmer's power tools which were returned to him. However, the quad bike was not recovered.

In a victim impact statement, the farmer said the burglary has left him "constantly worried", and "angry and upset" that people were roaming around farms at night.

Philip Climo, defending for Shevlin, said that it was accepted that the offence caused a "great deal of distress" to the farmer.

He said the father of two was struggling with a number of debts and that the "stresses of financial difficulties were getting to him".

Mr Climo told the court that Shevlin was remorseful, and had worked hard not to breach his probation order. He added that Shevlin was "terrified" of losing his landscape gardening business, and the progress he had made.

Judge Niclas Parry gave Shevlin maximum credit for his early guilty plea, adding that the farmer's loss was "mercifully not that great" and was covered by insurance.

However he said that Shevlin's previous convictions for stealing in 2017, taking a vehicle from a farm in 2019, and a further two offences in the West Mercia force area between his arrest and sentencing, there was "no realistic chance of rehabilitation".

Judge Parry sentenced Shevlin to 16 months in prison.