Criminal gangs are targeting parked Vauxhall Corsas and stripping them for parts.
Unsuspecting owners are returning to their parked vehicles to find, in some cases, the entire front ends of their cars missing.
The problem, which started in the south in August 2013 has seen parts stripped from about 500 Vauxhalls in Bedfordshire by so-called ‘Corsa cannibals’ in the last two years.
Now the spree has worked its way to other areas and as far north as Teeside where owners are waking up to to find bonnets, bumpers, headlights, side panels and other components have gone missing in the night.
The gang is targeting red sports models, in particular, parked on driveways and streets between the hours of 2am and 4am.
Owners are now being warned to be extra vigilant by Police after three Corsas were left unrecognisable by the gang overnight between Sunday and Monday.
A police spokesman said: “If you are the owner of a Vauxhall Corsa, particularly one of the sporty models which have been heavily targeted, please be vigilant.
“Make sure that you park your car in a garage or on a driveway if you have them, or if not try to park in a well lit area.”