Around 150 people had to be rescued from homes and caravans after severe floods hit west Wales.

Holidaymakers and residents were helped to safety in a large-scale rescue operation mounted by fire crews, coastguard lifeboats and military helicopters when water swept through caravan parks and villages near Aberystwyth.

An inshore lifeboat team taking part in the rescue operation had to be airlifted when they got into difficulties after helping to pluck a disabled man from a flooded caravan because a Royal Air Force (RAF) helicopter was 20 minutes flying time away.

Four holiday camps along the River Lery were completely evacuated when the swollen waters breached its banks, and 150 people were sheltering in rest centres having been rescued, police said.

Dozens of people took refuge in a community centre in Talybont when flood water surged through the village and three people were winched away from the Riverside Caravan Park in Llandre by RAF Sea King helicopters.

Dyfed-Powys Police said three people needed treatment for minor injuries.

The alarm was raised in the early hours after more than five inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Environment Agency Wales has five flood warnings in place.

Residents described scenes of devastation and carnage, but the community pulled together to provide food and shelter, and help the more vulnerable.

Jenny Evans, 42, of Stafford, owns a caravan at the Beachside Caravan Park and has been visiting there for around 10 years.

"One of our neighbours, who's known as Nana Dot, had to be rescued from her static caravan this morning," she said. "She's in her mid-70s and had to be taken in the back of a pick up truck. I've seen it flood before but nothing as bad as this before. Its like we've had a month's worth of rain in 36 hours. Some people are a bit anxious, but on the whole everyone has been pulling together and helping each other out."