The AA has warned that the incidences of cat burglaries – thieves stealing catalytic converters from parked cars – is on the increase.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals which can be worth around £60 to thieves who send them for specialist processing overseas.
The converter is attached to the exhaust system, so thieves either jack the car up or target vehicles with a high ground clearance.
As a result, trucks and 4x4s are highly valued by cat burglars.
Diesel thieves are also becoming increasingly busy. Botched diesel thefts can leave victims facing not just the loss of a perhaps £100 worth of petrol or diesel but the cost of repairing fuel systems and car bodywork.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: "Thieves work quickly and carelessly, sometimes causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
"A catalytic converter costs between £600 and £1,500 to replace, including labour cost, quite apart from repair of damage to bodywork that could cost several hundred pounds more to repair."