'GANGS' of thieves are targeting specific car models to steal catalytic converters.

Staff at Milton Park near Didcot sent a message to employees on Thursday, warning of catalytic converter thefts in its car parks and across the Didcot area.

They said their security teams had 'managed to thwart' two attempts, while another two thefts had been caught on CCTV.

READ AGAIN: Catalytic converter theft from car at Milton Park

The message added: "Unfortunately, and distressingly for the victims of these crimes, Thames Valley Police says it is very difficult to police as the thieves use stolen cars and usually manage to remove the catalytic converters within a couple of minutes at most.

"We understand there are several gangs involved and operating across the area.

"Typically, they operate in pairs, with one in the driver’s seat and one in the back of a (usually stolen) car."

Security staff will be increasing patrols and employees have been asked to keep an eye out for anyone 'crouching down' next to cars.

ALSO READ: Millets Farm steps up patrols after thieves seen in car park

They said Toyota Prius and Lexus cars, as well as Honda Jazz cars and Land Rovers, seemed to be particular targets.

The warning continued: "To give you an idea of how brazen these criminals are, yesterday [Wednesday] three people walked straight past the person removing the catalytic converter and a delivery van also drew up next to them while they were stealing it in the middle of the day.

"The incident was caught on the CCTV camera and the footage has been passed on to the police.

"Together, following [police] guidance below, we can work to prevent any further crimes by making it as difficult as possible for the thieves to access the exhaust system."

The following advice was shared by Milton Park, attributed to police:

- Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn't an option, park it in a well-lit and well-populated area

- Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust closest to the fence, wall or kerb, to make the theft more difficult.

- Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter

- In public car parks, consider parking alongside other cars and facing your bonnet towards the wall if possible

- If your catalytic converter is bolted on, ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.

- Etch a serial number on the catalytic converter.

- Purchase a 'cage clamp' to lock around the catalytic converter, making it more difficult to remove