WHAT started as a joke to lure people into a village shop has turned into a social media sensation thanks to a dig at Australia's under fire batsmen.

If you have passed through Solva in recent months, no doubt you will have noticed the topical road signs outside the village shop.

But now the signs have started going around the world thanks to the power of social media.

The man behind the humour is Gwyn Price, who has run Bay View Stores for the past 12 years.

He said: “We started doing the signs about five or six years ago.

"It was winter and snow had been forecast, so I put one out saying ‘panic buy here.’"

Gwyn was introduced to Facebook and Twitter by his brother Eirian at the start of the year, and now posts his sign of the day online.

Since then, it is estimated that they have had more than 100,000 shares, retweets and favourites.

Among the fans are former England cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan, BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine and popular social media account Lad Bible.

One of the most recent hits referred to England’s thrashing of Australia in the Ashes, with the sign reading ‘For Sale, Australian cricket bats, hardly used.'

Gwyn said: “I can’t believe how much it has taken off.

“People slow down as they pass and beep while I am doing them. I can’t go out for a pint in St Davids without people talking about the signs.

“Ideas of what to write usually come to me at night, so I have to wake the Mrs up to write them down.

“Eirian comes up with quite a few, as do the girls in the shop, and sometimes customers come in with suggestions.

"The one about the Ashes was actually a customer, although I’m taking the credit!”

Gwyn’s favourites over the years include one about the 2013 Lions Tour, when Warren Gatland selected mostly Welsh players for the crucial remaining tests.

The sign read: ‘The only place you’ll find lions in England is Longleat.’

Gwyn said: “Sometimes I have offended people, but it's not intentional. It’s all tongue in cheek.

“When we had a couple of days of sunshine, we put one on about Greece saying ‘you can have your weather back when you pay your bills.’ 60,000 people saw it, but a couple of people came back to me.”

The sign Gwyn did about the disgraced Lord Sewel’s alleged cocaine habit attracted attention from Channel 4’s The Last Leg.

Gwyn was contacted by one of the producers saying they wanted to use it in the show, but he explains: “They ran out of time because John Cleese, who was their guest, brought his cat onto the show.”

Bay View Stores' Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/BayViewStores