Hybrid vehicles at most risk with concerns thieves are playing “catch-up and doubling their efforts” over winter. Catalytic converter thefts have dramatically increased since June with the number cases of reported to be “significant”.

Crimes dropped to just 52 in April from over 400 at the start of the year in January but the number of offences is said to be “dramatically rising” once again.

Some of the metals found in the vital parts are “worth a fortune” with some elements worth even more than gold. The increase since June has been significant, and shows thieves are back to stealing the precious metals found in catalytic converters in some cars, which are then being sold on for a profit.

Palladium, platinum, and rhodium found in the converters are worth a fortune to thieves.

Currently, palladium is even more valuable than gold, rhodium is worth almost two-thirds of the value of gold, and platinum is around half the value of gold.

Hybrid cars at particular risk of being targeted because cats on hybrid vehicles tend to be less corroded than their petrol or diesel counterparts.

Hybrid cars are targeted the most because their catalytic converters contain a higher concentration of precious metals and are generally less corroded.