BRAZEN thieves are jacking up 4x4s left outside shops and businesses to rip out catalytic converters in broad daylight, police have warned.

Officers are investigating a spate of thefts across Ferndown. The criminals are targeting cars parked in public areas during the day.

One incident happened between 11am and 4pm on Wednesday, January 15, when a car parked on the upper level of the Tesco car park in Penny's Walk was damaged.

When the driver returned to his car, he found it wouldn't start.

It was later discovered that the catalytic converter had been removed.

On the same day, between 9am and 7pm, a catalytic converter was stolen from a 4x4 vehicle left in Elm Tree Walk.

The most blatant incident happened in daylight on Tuesday, January 28 in the car park at Hobbycraft and Haskins Garden Centre.

Two men were seen to pull up in a black Vauxhall Astra. They got out and jacked up the victim's car before stealing the catalytic converter.

Both men are described as wearing black clothes and hats.

Inspector Simon Perry, of East Dorset police, said: “We are following a number of lines of enquiry into these incidents.

“Anyone who has witnessed any suspicious activity in the area, or who may have CCTV that may have captured the incidents, is urged to please get in touch.

“Additionally, we would always encourage owners to take measures to help prevent this kind of theft. It is best to park on a drive and in a well-lit area if possible. There are also catalytic converter cages that can be purchased to make them more difficult to steal.

“Sport utility vehicles and 4x4-style vehicles can often be targeted due to their height, making it easier for offenders to climb underneath.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police via or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55200014246.