A group of suspected catalytic converter thieves fled from the police before setting their getaway vehicle on fire yesterday.
Officers pursued the suspects in a silver BMW saloon in the early hours of Monday morning, but they later found it ablaze off the A350 at East Knoyle.
Wiltshire Police were responding to a call from a member of the public who reported a suspected catalytic converter theft taking place in Tisbury at about 2am yesterday morning.
Shortly afterwards, officers spotted a vehicle matching the description given as it drove through the Mere area. The BMW failed to stop and made off at speed, and was later abandoned and burnt out.
The suspects are also thought to have been committing offences in the Avon, Somerset and Dorset areas and their enquiries continue.
Insp Pete Sparrow said: “We are aware of the growing number of incidents of people attempting to steal catalytic converters from vehicles in our area and have increased patrols in response to this.
“Although we did not make any arrests on this occasion, we have certainly stopped them in their tracks. With the help of our colleagues in neighbouring force areas and our extensive intelligence resources, we are determined to crack down on these criminals and disrupt them at every turn.
“We would like to hear from anyone who may have been driving on the A350 in East Knoyle early this morning who may have recorded dash cam footage that could help us. This is a remote area and footage from the time could help identify a second vehicle which we assume must have picked up the offenders.”
Anyone with information that can help identify those responsible should call police on 101 quoting log 26 of yesterday (24/05).