Bedfordshire police are cracking down on catalytic converter thefts following a spate of incidents reported in the Flitwick and Harlington areas.
Officers are carrying out a series of proactive patrols in hot spot areas in both marked and unmarked cars and in plain clothing on foot.
They have also made arrests for possession of drugs and antisocial behaviour.
Officers are also supporting a national initiative and offering to help people get their catalytic converters security marked free of charge.
Sergeant Dominic Tembey, from the force’s Central Bedfordshire Community Team, said: “Following our targeted patrols we have seen a reduction in offences.
“I want to remind members of the public to take steps to protect their vehicles. To keep your catalytic converter safe, you can ask your car dealer for advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer and tested to Sold Secure Gold.
“Alternatively, where possible make sure your vehicle is parked in a garage overnight, or if you have a commercial vehicle, park it in a secure compound. If this isn’t possible, park in an area that’s well-lit and overlooked and try to park so that the converter can’t be easily reached by potential thieves.
“You should also register your converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of.”
On Wednesday, 23 February, officers will be at National Tyres, in Ashburnham Road, Bedford, where they will be marking catalytic converters with security marked liquid.
When a UV light is held over the liquid, police can identify details of the vehicle on a secure database and be able to identify it should it be reported stolen. It also acts as a deterrent for any opportunistic thieves.
Sergeant Tembey said: “We are encouraging members of the public to come down to National Tyres and have their convertors marked so that we can help prevent thefts in our communities.”
Anyone looking at attend Wednesday's event can contact the National Tyres Bedford branch on 01234 354244 to book an appointment, while the team will be accepting drop ins on the day.
Marking will be provided free of charge between 8.30am and 5.30pm, but is subject to demand.
Anyone unable to attend this event can contact either the Bedford, Dunstable or Luton branches direct to book free catalytic converter etching as part of a winter health check at one of the branches more local to them.
If you witness any suspicious activity or a theft in progress please call 999 immediately. If it is safe to do so please take photos of the suspects or the number plate of their car. Do not approach them.
If the crime has already happened please call 101, report it online via beds.police.uk/ro/report or report to your local police station.