POLICE are urging people to be vigilant after a spate of catalytic converter thefts in East Sussex.

Officers have seen an increase in reports of the thefts during the past month, including in Eastbourne, Hastings and Bexhill. Toyota and Honda vehicles have been targeted in particular.

Chief Inspector Di Lewis, district commander for Eastbourne and Lewes, said: “We are urging people to take extra precautions around their vehicles following a rise in thefts of catalytic converters across East Sussex.

“There are a number of measures people can take to deter thieves, including parking in a secure or well-lit area and considering locks or guards.

“We also encourage people to continue reporting any thefts to us, so we can build a picture of the crimes and respond effectively.”

Steps to protect your vehicle include parking in a garage overnight or in a secure compound. If this is not possible, people are urged to park in an area that’s well-lit and overlooked.

Drivers are also encouraged to park so that the convertor can’t be easily reached by potential thieves. Vehicles that sit high above the road are particularly vulnerable.

Car owners can ask their car dealer for any advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer to keep catalytic converters safe. People are also urged to register their converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of.

More information can be found on the Secured by Design website. Further measures on how to protect your car from thieves can also be found on the Sussex Police website.

Anyone who has been a victim of a catalytic converter theft, or who may have any other information including relevant CCTV, doorbell or dash cam footage, is asked to contact police. This can be done either online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.