Published: 18:40, 09 October 2019
| Updated: 20:35, 09 October 2019
Motorists are advised to be vigilant following a spate of catalytic converter thefts.
The car part - which converts exhaust emissions into less toxic substances - were taken from three cars in the villages surrounding Ashford on Monday.
The cars were parked in Bagham Lane in Chilham, Church Lane in Molash and Ruckinge Road in Hamstreet.
The part is often stripped from cars and sold on.
Now, Kent Police are advising car owners of the steps they can take to prevent such thefts.
Insp Jason Atkinson, from the Community Safety Unit in Ashford, said: "We are warning residents to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to us straight away whilst we look to identify those people responsible for these thefts.
"As well as reviewing CCTV we are working closely with scrap metal dealers, to make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal and also identify any dealers who operate illegally.
"To reduce the risk of theft, we would advise vehicles are kept in garages, or park in busy, well-lit areas..." - Insp Atkinson
"To reduce the risk of theft, we would advise that vehicles are kept in garages whenever possible, or park in busy, well-lit areas.
"Drivers can also security mark and register the metal shell of the converter so if stolen and recovered, it will be easier to trace.
"Mark or etch it with the vehicle registration number, or serial number, and consider fitting a catalytic converter clamp or security cage to protect it."
Anyone who witnessed these thefts should call Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting reference 07-0383 for Chilham, 07-0617 for Molash and 07-1069 for Hamstreet.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or using the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.
Other forces in the UK have also warned car owners to be on the look out, including Warwickshire Police.
To get the latest updates on ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here.
More by this authorSam Williams