POLICE have issued a warning following an increase in thefts of catalytic converters in Shaftesbury.

Over the last couple of months, four catalytic converters have been stolen. All the incidents are under investigation and arrests have been made in one case.

A spokesperson for North Dorset Police said: “Thieves will target cars, current favourites being hybrid and Honda Jazz, to get at the cat - for the purpose of getting the scrap value of the precious metal inside worth £20-£200 per g.

“This causes a high bill to you, and the mark up to organised crime groups are very high.

“Car manufacturers are redesigning out issues, we regularly work with partner agencies to check on scrap yards, however thieves still operate and are blatant, it takes a couple of minutes to jack up the car and use a disc cutter to remove it.

“Our advise, should you own a car fitted with a cat, if possible keep your car in a garage, park it exhaust side to a wall or other hard point.

“Mark it with a serial number and ask garage about fitting a plate or cage.

“If you see someone acting suspicious near or under a car, call us on 999 giving as much detail as possible without putting yourself in danger.”