More than a quarter of criminals in Pembrokeshire went on to reoffend within the space of just one year, new figures have revealed.

Recent figures from the Ministry of Justice show that 667 adults were released from prison, cautioned or handed a non-custodial conviction at court between July 2019 and June 2020 in Pembrokeshire.

Of them, 186 (27.9 per cent) committed at least one further crime within 12 months.

This is slightly up on the previous year when 25 percent of 779 convicted criminals had reoffended withing a 12 moth period.

Between them, Pembrokeshire’s 186 repeat offenders racked up 506 new offences – an average of 2.7 each.

At 46.5 per cent, reoffending rates in Pembrokeshire were highest for theft offences.

Pembrokeshire is going against the national trend, which saw reoffending decrease slightly year on year across England and Wales; nationally 25.8 percent of criminals reoffended within a year –a slight drop from 27.4 percent the year before.

However, the Ministry of Justice warned that some prolific criminals might appear multiple times in the figures for one year if they repeatedly reoffend, which could lead to an increase in reoffending rates.

It added there might be more volatility in the data because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the criminal justice system.

Nationally fraud saw a large rise, second only to violent offences. In Pembrokeshire, one out of seven fraud offenders broke the law again, compared to one in five nationally.

People released from prison, cautioned or handed a non-custodial conviction for theft offences had the highest rates of reoffending nationally at 47.9 per cent.

A UK government spokeswoman said: “Reducing reoffending is one of our top priorities which is why an extra £550 million will be invested over the next three years to rehabilitate offenders and protect the public.

“We’re also spending £400m to tackle economic crime and developing a new strategy to clampdown on the devastating impact fraud can have on victims.”