A SPATE of catalytic converter thefts from cars in the Chiltern and South Bucks area has prompted a warning from police.

Officers say they have seen an increase in theft of the car exhaust parts over the last three months compared to the same period last year.

The most targeted vehicles have been the Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris, Honda Jazz and Lexus RX400.

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas into less-toxic pollutants.

Police have previously warned that gangs are stripping cars of the catalytic converters in broad daylight in a bid to cash in on lucrative prices for rhodium, palladium and platinum in the devices.

Drivers are advised to park where there is CCTV coverage or in secure car parks where possible.

If you are a victim, police suggest taking photos of the location within the car park or street.