Canterbury Police are noticing a rise in the theft of valuable car parts over the past few months.
Thieves are specifically targeting catalytic converters, which are made of valuable metals.
Police have recorded at least 50 instances of these being stolen in the past few months.
These thefts are occurring from vehicles parked in the open, on the side of the road and in some cases car yards and vehicle storage facilities.
The best prevention of this occurring is high definition CCTV cameras and high quality security lighting at commercial premises and ensuring private vehicles are parked securely, preferably in a garage or with a vehicle alarm installed.
Police encourage the reporting of any theft, including that of catalytic converters removed from vehicles.
The public are requested to call Police if they notice any unusual behaviour including people crawling under cars late at night.
Members of the NZ Association of Metal Recyclers work actively to prevent metal theft and the industry is concerned at the rising number of catalytic converter thefts.
Members work with local Police on metal thefts through the AMR online reporting system for stolen metal and other items and AMR strongly encourage all thefts to be first reported directly to the Police so that the police file number can be referenced on the report.
Police urge caution to anyone buying scrap metal or second-hand car parts from Facebook or other social media.