A ROMSEY woman has had to fork out hundreds of pounds after her catalytic converter was stolen from her car.

Helen Rushton, from Withy Close, claims her Honda CR-V was targeted by vandals on Wednesday, 18 December.

It is believed the damage may have been caused by yobs brandishing cutters or an angle grinder during the night.

The professional photographer said: "All of the repairs, plus having to hire a car, could cost me about £800.

"My parents live two hours away in Castle Combe, near Bath, and I had to get a hire car because I would not have been able to get home for Christmas.

"I work really hard to be able to live in Romsey, run a car and to have someone do this it makes you feel vulnerable; it is just rubbish.

"It happened on Wednesday night and it is very frustrating as it makes you feel very cautious and suspicious.

"The garage I went to, called Romsey Fastfit, said there have been eight other residents who have had their catalytic converters stolen from them."

The 47-year-old added: "I was meant to go to Bognor Regis to take photos for my job last Saturday and I couldn't because my garage couldn't get the car repaired this side of Christmas.

"I think the catalytic converter was stolen using cutters, because it has damaged the pipe work before and after the converter.

"They could have done it with an angle grinder, but we live in a quiet area and at night one of the neighbours would have heard something.

"I worry that if my car gets repaired then these people will do it again.

"I have also been told you can get a guard fitted for the catalytic converter, but that is an extra £300."

Helen also left a letter on the bonnet of her 4x4 to the vandals in case they return.

Part of the note says: "Thanks to your selfishness, things are going to be pretty rubbish for me for the forseeable future.

"Plus smile, you're now on CCTV which is recording constantly."

A spokesperson from Hampshire police said: "A catalytic converter was stolen from a Honda parked in Withy Close, Romsey, some time between 9am on 18 December and 3pm on 19 December.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting 44190455913."