Three men were spotted stealing a catalytic converter from a car in High Wycombe's Easton Street car park.

The men, who fled the scene in a dark blue vehicle, were spotted removing the valuable car part from a Toyota Yaris at around 2.20pm on January 17.

Since October 2019, more than 450 thefts of catalytic converters have been reported across the Thames Valley area.

Thieves are most commonly targeting Toyota Prius and Honda Jazz vehicles parked in large open air and multi-storey car parks.

Police believe that many of the thefts are linked and are carrying out a thorough investigation into them.

Thieves use a car jack to lift the car and take out the catalytic converter - which often only takes a couple of minutes.

Detective Superintendent Jim Weems, Head of Intelligence, said: “We take these offences very seriously and are working hard to catch offenders in the act and collaborating with partners to protect vulnerable areas.

"We are working closely with other police forces to ensure that anyone crossing our borders to commit crime has nowhere to hide.

“If you believe you can see a theft taking place, always call the police on 999."

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas into less-toxic pollutants - but gangs have been stripping them from vehicles so they can cash in on lucrative prices for rhodium, palladium and platinum in the devices.