An anti-theft device invented by a Pembrokeshire sheep farmer is helping to tackle rural crime.

Charles Lamb first came up with the idea for a lock to attach to ring hitches when he was a pupil at Ysgol y Preseli.

His class had been set a project based on the theme of ‘safe and sound’ but that assignment had to be abandoned when his teacher went off sick.

Now aged 37, Charles has resurrected his idea after spending the last 10 years working on the developing the design. The result is a series of locks to fit every type of ring hitch, from 4x4s to lorries.

He has also patented another device that secures to farm gates to prevent them from being lifted off their hinges and stolen. “It is linked with the latch side being locked making nearly impenetrable,’’ he says.

“CCF Ltd have taken it on and are now stocking it.’’

The route to market has been a challenging one. He initially involved an overseas manufacturer but the design was misinterpreted and he lost the money he paid the company for the work.

But his saviour came in the form of a friend who was a qualified engineer. “She asked me to send her the drawing and within two days I had the prototype in my hand,’’ recalls Charles, who farms at Ddolwen Farm near Fishguard.

The products, which range in price from £65 to £120, are made in Bridgend.

Demand for them is increasing amidst a worrying rise in rural crime in Wales – in the last 12 months it has surged by 41 per cent.

Charles is planning to build on his range of products.