A DRIVER describes feeling "powerless" after witnessing two thieves in balaclavas steal a catalytic converter from his car.

Sam Rao who lives in Quintilis, Roman Hill in Bracknell saw two people park next to his car and jacked it up.

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He said: "I was close and felt powerless to do anything but take pictures. After they left I came back into the house and was shaking.

"It was the realisation that no one can do anything about men in balaclavas, with an iron rod in one and hand not even worried."

The thieves managed to get away with the catalytic converter as the resident didn't want to confront them for his own safety.

The yoga teacher added: "I am now told that they may strike again because the catalytic converter has been replaced

"I don’t like that I feel angry but very tempted to have a go if they try again."

Police said they carried out an investigation but have not had any fresh leads into the case.

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A spokesman said: "We received this report and carried out an investigation. It has now been filed pending further information coming to light."

The force have linked 450 thefts of catalytic converts from across Bracknell, Wokingham and Reading and surrounding areas.

Thieves have been mainly targetting Toyota Prius and Honda Jazz cars parked in large open air and multi-storey car parks, as well as residential roads too.

Bracknell has been a hotspot for catalytic converter thefts, with five catalytic converters were reported stolen in just one day, in roads including Great Hollands, Underwood and Ringmead.

Catalytic converters contain small amounts of the precious metals platinum, palladium and rhodium which can be sold at high prices.

Thieves will use a car jack to the lift the car and cut the catalytic converter out, which only takes a couple of minutes.