A STUDENT nurse from Southampton was left feeling 'helpless and frustrated' after discovering her car was not working as a vital part had been stolen.

Emily Owen, 20, of Belmont Road in Portswood discovered this morning that the catalytic converter from her car had been stolen, with police confirming this sort of theft is on the rise.

Ms Owen said: "I went to start my car this morning and it sounded very loud, like a motorbike.

"I looked underneath the car, - a Honda Jazz - and saw that the exhaust had been cut and the catalytic converter had been stolen.

"This will be hundreds of pounds to sort out, even if I claim it on my insurance. I’m a second year student nurse and am going on placement next week, so this is really frustrating as it is a stressful enough time already.

"I was hoping to use my car to commute but am now unable to, as I don’t think I can afford to get the car fixed."

Miss Owen reported the theft to the police, but she said she was told a recovery was unlikely due to a lack of witnesses.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police confirmed they had received the report, adding that the theft is believed to have happened between February 8 - 9.

They said converters on on hybrid Hondas and Toyotas are particularly vulnerable because their converters are cleaner and therefore the valuable metals contained within them are less likely to corrode.

Police advised drivers to park the side of the vehicle (front or back) where the converter is located towards a wall.

They also said if a converter is bolted on, a driver can ask for their local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove

The spokesperson advised: "Speak to your dealership or garage about the possibility of adding a tilt sensor that will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter."

Anyone with information about the incident is advised to contact police on 101 quoting reference 44210049520.