Police chiefs are urging people in Lichfield and Burntwood to help tackle a rise in catalytic converter thefts.

Officers say thieves can remove the parts from target cars in a matter of minutes in order to get to the previous metals in them.

Hybrid vehicles such as Toyotas and Hondas are being targeted across Staffordshire as they have two power sources and the catalytic converters are trherefored used less frequently and will not have corroded as much.

Vans and SUVs are also on the hitlist for the criminals due to the height making the underside of the vehicles easier to access.

Chief Inspector David Wain said people needed to be aware of the signs a car or van may be in the sights of the thieves.

“Often offenders will raise a targeted vehicle on a jack to get to the catalytic convertor.

“We would like to remind people that the tools they carry for such offences are dangerous to others so we would encourage people not to approach them and to call 999 if the crime is in progress.

“It’s important for members of the public to stay alert.

“We need people’s help to tackle this issue so we ask that they look out for this type of activity and record descriptions – noting down anything that could be useful to us.

“Try to obtain any key information such as registration numbers of vehicles carrying offenders and makes and models in case the plates have been changed.”

Ch Insp David Wain, Staffordshire Police

Drivers are also being urged to take precautions such as parking vehicles with bonnets close to walls and in areas that are well-lit or covered by CCTV.

Police say parking with two wheels on the pavement can also make the catalytic converter easier for thieves to access.