The spectre of cataytic converter thefts has reared its head in Longford once again after a number of exhaust pipes were removed from a string of jeeps and commercial vehicles last week.
The latest incident took place in broad daylight last Thursday at St Mel's Cathedral Car Park when a Nissan Pajero jeep was targeted.
The vehicle's exhaust was cut sometime between 8:30am and 5:30pm when the owner of the jeep returned to her vehicle.
Gardaí are also looking into similar episodes which occurred in the Longford area in recent weeks and have appealed for the public's help.
Organised gangs are believed to be behind the thefts, roaming the county and other parts of the country with a view to stealing converters fitted to many brands of vans and 4x4s.
The recent upsurge in catalytic converter thefts is believed to be linked to the high value of the platinum, rhodium, palladium and other precious metals employed to clean exhaust emissions.
In nearly every incident, the exhaust unit and catalytic converters are removed, sometimes without causing damage to the vehicles or activating any alarm system.
Crime gangs are also attracted to carrying out the thefts owing to the speed and ease at which catalytic converter s can be removed.
Besides Pajeros, the issue is one which is particularly affecting older Prius models, due to the high quality of their catalytic converters.
Gardaí in Limerick, Clare and Galway have also received a range of reports of almost identical thefts in recent weeks.
Anyone with information in relation to the Longford thefts and more specifically last week's Cathedral Car Park incident is asked to contact (043) 3350570.