POLICE launched an operation to crackdown on catalytic converter thefts in north east Wales.

North Wales Police ran in Operation Goldiron, which saw an intensive week of proactive action around the issue.

The force said it is seeing an increase in the theft of catalytic converters across North Wales, particularly from Japanese brands such as Honda and Toyota, and also from hybrid vehicles.

Precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters. The price of these metals has risen sharply in recent years and has led to an increase in the theft of catalytic converters by organised crime networks.

North Wales Police said "proactive" vehicle stop checks were made, and that extra policing was undertaken in the vicinity of scrap yards.

Police also had conversations with the owners and asked for their assistance moving forwards, but that these car parts are often transported by criminals to other areas of the country, and even into Europe.

The smart water marker pens (pictured below) are used to put security details on the catalytic converter, making any seized items easier to identify.

The smart water marker pens in action.

The smart water marker pens in action.

As part their approach to tackling the issue, police say they will check catalytic converters when stopping vehicles attending scrap yards with them.

Members of the public attending scrap dealers to sell metals are required to show ID and provide bank details.