Precious metals in catalytic converters are making them increasing targets for thieves, it has been warned.
Materials like rhodium and Palladium can be more expensive than gold, meaning stolen converters can sell for more than £500 on the black market.
A demand for cheaper second-hand catalytic converters has also been created by the volume of thefts.
Such is the scale of the problem, Crimestoppers has launched a campaign for anonymous information to catch those behind the thefts in Scotland.
Angela Parker, Scotland National Manager at Crimestoppers, said: “With an increase in people working from home or being furloughed because of the pandemic, thieves are taking full advantage of this, as more cars are parked in driveways or on the street during the day.
“We know there have been cases where criminals, who work very quickly, have threatened victims who have tried to confront them and some drivers have been repeatedly targeted.”
The week-long campaign is being supported by the Neighbourhood Watch Network. Its CEO, John Hayward-Cripps, said: “Whenever possible, we encourage you to park your car in busy, well-lit areas or areas with CCTV coverage.
“It can take as little as 60 seconds for thieves to steal a catalytic converter so keep an eye out for your neighbour’s vehicles, and if you suspect anything suspicious report it to the charity Crimestoppers anonymously.”
Crimestoppers is available 24/7 on 0800 555 111 or information can be recorded at Crimestoppers-uk.org