CRAFTY thieves that are stealing catalytic converters off parked cars are being targeted as part of a police crackdown.

Thieves are targeting the car parts – located in the exhaust system under the vehicle – because of the high value of the precious metals they contain. Depending on the size of the CAT, thieves get between £50 - £250 in scrap value for it - but it can cost thousands to repair.

Acting Detective Sergeant Jamie Henderson said: "If someone drives without a Catalytic Convertor they'll hear an excessively loud revving like a racing car. It can also be very dangerous as fumes may start to come into the vehicle. A trained technician takes several hours to properly remove a CAT, however we are aware of some thieves that literally take seconds to rip them from vehicles leaving them in particularly dangerous conditions and costing upwards of £1000 to repair."

A catalytic converter helps to reduce the emissions coming out of a vehicle and contain precious metals like gold, platinum.

Thieves cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked car and sell them on to scrap metal dealers.

Police say to make it harder for your car to be targeted, park in well-lit busy areas and mark the metal shell of the converter with a unique mark, so that if it is removed by thieves it will be easier to trace back to your vehicle.