A SHOCKED dad-of-two was threatened outside his Poole home after catching two thugs ripping the catalytic converter from his car.

Steve Richardson, of Sunnyside Road, had been ill in bed when he overheard a commotion by his 4X4 Mitsubishi Shogun parked in the street.

When the 41-year-old stormed outside, still wearing his dressing gown and slippers, one thief brazenly carried on removing the converter while the other crook threatened to attack him.

“I was seriously concerned for my safety,” Steve told the Daily Echo.

“I mean, I ran out there on automatic and found myself standing in just my slippers and dressing gown.

“This guy stood there and said: ‘Come on then, I’ll take you on’. I had to back off, I had nothing to defend myself with.”

After stealing the converter – which has left Steve facing a possible £1,000 bill – the pair ran off.

Steve said: “I think they had a driver waiting around the corner. They basically had absolutely no regard that they had been caught red-handed. They just carried on and did what they wanted.”

Last year witnessed a sharp rise in the theft of catalytic converters, a disturbing development linked to the high price of scrap metal.

These converters – used to reduce a vehicle’s emissions and make them more eco-friendly – contain metals including platinum, rhodium and palladium.

Normally it takes a skilled mechanic up to three hours to remove one from an engine, but thieves can steal them within seconds as they have no regard for the vehicle afterwards.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We would appeal for any witnesses, or anyone who knows anything about this incident, to contact Dorset Police.”

The theft took place in on Saturday at 6.45pm.