A joint-record number of firearms licences were revoked by police in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Powys last year, new figures show.

Across England and Wales, a record number of licences were removed from firearms users, with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation praising the vetting process for catching unsuitable gun owners.

Action on Armed Violence, a campaign group that aims to end armed violence, said the UK's gun laws "work", with firearms deaths lower nationally than in many other countries.

Home Office figures show 24 firearms licences were revoked by Dyfed-Powys Police in the year to March – up from 11 in 2021-22, and the joint-highest figure since 2008-09, when comparable records began. The other highest year was 2019-20.

In 2008-09, just three firearms were revoked.

Meanwhile, a further 38 shotgun licences were revoked last year.

Across England and Wales, there were 418 firearms revocations in 2022-23 – up from 385 the year before and the highest figure on record, which nationally began in 1992.

Some 1,161 shotgun licences were removed, the highest figure in the last six years.

The BASC praised the vetting process individuals must pass when applying for a licence due to the small percentage of overall certificate holders that have their licence revoked.

Martin Parker, head of firearms at the association, said the reason for the record numbers is "almost certainly the introduction of statutory guidance on suitability checks of certificate holders in 2021", which the BASC assisted in creating to improve consistency across police forces in England and Wales.

Mr Parker added: "Shooting is an incredibly popular activity, incorporating tens of thousands of jobs, highly competitive target and clay pigeon shooting, and essential wildlife management."

Iain Overton, executive director of AOAV, said the figures "can be viewed two ways: the first is, reassuringly, in that there are attempts to assure that firearms in the UK are only held by those capable of using them legally. The second is a cause of concern, that the numbers are rising".

"The truth is that we, compared to many countries, are a remarkably safe nation for firearm deaths. Ultimately, we should be more concerned with knife crime than gun crime. In an imperfect world, our gun laws work," he added.

The figures also show 522 firearms and shotguns were lost or stolen across England and Wales in 2022-23 – 19 per cent higher than the year before and 43 per cent higher than two years ago.

In Dyfed and Powys, six firearms or shotguns were lost or stolen – up from four in 2020-21.