There has been a rise in catalytic converter thefts across North Wales, with two incidents involving Mitsubishi Colt cars.

Catalytic converters are devices fitted to vehicle exhausts to reduce the amount of dangerous gases emitted and are often targeted by thieves as they contain valuable metals. They can be removed in less than a minute.

North Wales Police is urging everyone to be vigilant around vehicle security.

DCI Alun Oldfield said: "We are currently seeing an increase in the theft of catalytic converters across our force area.

"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.

"Two of the most recent reports of this type of theft in our force area involved Mitsubishi Colt vehicles parked close to residential addresses.

"While we would ask drivers of this vehicle model to take extra care, we are warning all vehicle owners to be aware of the threat posed by opportunistic thieves."

Although catalytic converter thefts are increasing nationwide, there are steps that people can take to protect their vehicles.

To help keep a catalytic converter safe, people can ask car dealers for advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer and tested to Sold Secure Gold.

Alternatively, try to make sure a vehicle is parked in a garage overnight, or if you have a commercial vehicle, park it in a secure compound.

If this isn't possible, park in an area that's well-lit and overlooked and try to park so that the converter can't be easily reached by potential thieves. Vehicles that sit high above the road are particularly vulnerable.

People can also register converters and mark them with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of it.

If you have had your catalytic converter stolen, you can report it via North Wales Police's online service or by calling 101.

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