CAR parts worth hundreds of pounds have been stolen in a spate of attacks.

Thieves have targeted large vehicles, including people carriers, 4x4s and vans, stripping valuable catalytic converters from seven cars in two nights.

According to North Wales Police the thefts took place on Monday and Tuesday. Five were in Coedpoeth and two in Tanyfron. Officers believe the culprits must have a good knowledge of cars in order to carry out the thefts.

Paul Jones, inspector for Wrexham North, said: “Those involved are believed to be using a pipecutter and obviously have some knowledge of exhausts.

“We believe the parts have been stolen due to their value as scrap metal, rather than to re-use as second-hand as they can be worth up to £200.

“The thieves have targeted side streets just off the main road and presumably so they can approach unseen and make a quick escape. And they have stolen from cars parked in residential areas with a few parked on driveways.

“We have now increased patrols and are using our forensic team to investigate.”

Catalytic converters reduce carbon emissions released from car exhausts and are common on many new cars, especially larger vehicles such as 4x4s.

They contain valuable precious metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium which can be melted down, diluted and re-used to create new parts and they are easy to access because they are on the outside of the body of the car.

Paul Pemberton, owner of P and G Motors and councillor for Rhos, believes thieves often keep an eye on the scrap value of such metals and will steal parts to order based on their worth at the time.

He said: “The bigger cars and vans have larger catalytic converters and therefore contain more metal, so the thieves obviously know what they’re doing by targeting them.

“The other appeal is once the parts have been removed it is very difficult to trace them back to the original vehicle and obviously once they have been melted down it is impossible.

“The thefts are very worrying and I think we’ll all have to keep a closer eye on our vehicles now.”

Insp Jones added: “I am asking for the public’s help in being vigilant and offering any information they may have about who could be responsible.”

Anyone with information can call North Wales Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.