Officers are advising motorists to be vigilant following a spate of thefts of catalytic converters in Yate.

Six thefts took place in the area between March 8 and 15 and Avon and Somerset police have confirmed catalytic converter theft is a force-wide issue at the moment.

In the Yate area specifically, along with the six catalytic converter thefts there was also another further attempted theft.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset said: “Catalytic converters are positioned underneath a vehicle and can take less than a minute to cut and remove. They are attractive to thieves due to the current high prices of the metals inside them such as platinum, palladium or rhodium.

“Unfortunately, they can be very expensive for victims to replace, particularly in newer vehicles.

“If you see someone acting suspiciously around a vehicle, report it to police on 101. Ideally, provide a vehicle registration/make/model and colour, and a description of the suspects. If you witness a crime in progress, call 999.”

To help prevent your vehicle being targeted motorists are encouraged to follow the crime prevention advice below:

• Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn’t an option then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area, where neighbours and passers-by could see anyone tampering with your vehicle

• Park strategically! In order to steal the parts, thieves need to slide under the vehicle and use cutting tools to detach the box from the pipes around it. This means parking your car close to fences, walls or kerbs will make theft much more difficult.

• Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter.

• If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing your bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it.

• If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove. You can also purchase a ‘cage clamp’ which is a caged device that locks around the converter to make it more difficult to remove.

• You can also etch a serial number onto the converter to assist police enquiries should yours be stolen. Some garages will do this for you, and you will also be provided with a sticker to be displayed in your window indicating your catalytic converter is marked to deter offenders from targeting your vehicle.

• For further security, you can speak to your dealership about the possibility of adding a tilt sensor that will activate the alarm should a thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter.