A SOUTHAMPTON man has issued a warning to drivers of hybrid cars in the city after a vital part of his vehicle was stolen twice in one month.

Wayne Reeves, of Irving Road in Millbrook said he was “gutted” after discovering that the catalytic converter on his Toyota Hybrid car had been stolen on Saturday less than 48 hours after having been replaced due to another theft on February 9.

With his insurance company refusing to pay for a protective lock for the converter, Wayne is stuck paying the excess costs.

He said: “I’m absolutely gutted this has happened again and I’m having to pay another three figure excess amount on insurance to have it repaired yet again.

“I’m shocked that insurance company will not pay to have a lock fitted to prevent this from happening again.

“During this difficult time with Covid I can’t afford to do this but I have no choice.”

Mr Reeves said similar incidents have happened in surrounding streets and he feels as though his vehicle is now ‘marked’ due to the second theft occurring so quickly after the first.

The theft follows a similar incident on Belmont Road Portswood on February 10, in which a Southampton University student nurse was left feeling ‘helpless and frustrated’ after discovering her catalytic converter had been stolen, leaving her unable to drive to her work placement.

Police confirmed this type of theft is on the rise in Southampton, with hybrid Hondas and Toyotas particularly vulnerable because their converters are cleaner and therefore the valuable metals contained within them are less likely to corrode.

Like Mr Reeves, the owner 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 reports of a catalytic converter theft from an address on Irving Road on Saturday 20 February.

Hampshire Constabulary 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 theconverter.”