A sudden rise in thefts of catalytic converters could be tackled with a new scheme developed by Ford and a security firm.
Criminals have been removing the units from parked vehicles in order to sell on the precious metals inside, worth around £100 per time.
Police have previously faced problems clamping down on the problem as there has been no official way of telling one converter from another.
But Ford and Retainagroup have invented a marking system featuring logos and serial numbers for the units.
DC Ian Elliott of the Metropolitan Police Stolen Vehicle Unit said: “Such a proactive approach by Ford and Retainagroup to something that is heading towards epidemic levels in the UK ought not to go unrecognised.”
If the scheme is a success it could mean criminals are less tempted by converters and lead to a reduction in car insurance claims.
Earlier this month the East Anglian Daily Times reported local police figures had revealed a large rise in the number of converter thefts from vehicles in Suffolk.