A driver has been left with a £3,000 bill to get his cars back on the road - after a gang of catalytic converter thieves stole the valuable part from two of his vehicles.

Three vehicles were targeted in Whitelands Road in High Wycombe on the night of February 5 - and CCTV from a resident shows just how quickly these gangs can carry out their crimes.

In the space of just a minute and a half, the thieves managed to steal the catalytic converters from cars parked in the residential road.

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One of the affected drivers, who did not want to be named, told the Bucks Free Press his neighbour's car was targeted, before two of his own, just before 11pm on February 5.

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.

The metals can be recycled for use in jewellery, dentistry and electronics.

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Thames Valley Police said the thefts can take place in minutes - with the cars jacked up, the catalytic converters sawn off and then the thieves fleeing the scene.

There have been a string of catalytic converter thefts in the area recently, with mainly hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius being targeted.

Bucks Free Press: This is what a catalytic converter looks likeThis is what a catalytic converter looks like

According to a report by The Guardian, thieves can make between £300 and £500 from every stolen converter.

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Police have urged drivers to consider installing security lighting and CCTV at home or to park vehicles in garages or other secure locations where possible in a bid to deter thieves.

Converters can also be etched with unique serial numbers so they can be traced and if the car parts are 'bolt-on', the bolts can be welded shut.

Protective coverings can also be placed over the catalytic converters.