There should be more public awareness over the thefts of devices that reduces toxic emissions from engines.

That is the view of Local London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore, who said the thefts of catalytic converters should be a “concern”.

Over 1,000 of the devices, which are installed in vehicles to control emissions, were stolen across London during 2018.

Around 108 of those thefts from vehicles took place in Barnet.

It was a major increase compared to 2017, where in total only 173 catalytic converters were stolen across London.

As a result of these thefts, the victims are left with significant repair and replacement bills which can total around £2,000.

Mr Dismore said: “It might be the case that there is low public awareness around the recent sharp rise in catalytic converter theft, but this is something that should concern us all.

“The fact that organised gangs can carry out these thefts so brazenly is sadly symptomatic of the damage that has been wrought upon our police forces by almost a decade of swingeing and reckless Government cuts.”

Since 2010, the Met Police have been forced to make £850 million of savings due to Government cuts and face the prospect of having to withhold a further £263 million from their budget by 2022/23.

Mr Dismore added: “It is only right that the Met are prioritising their overstretched resources to tackle the scourge of violent crime on our streets.

“However, it is not banal to argue that with more officers on our streets and detectives in place, specialist forms of crime such as catalytic converter theft, could be more effectively prosecuted and even prevented in the first place”.