Police say Fiat 500 cars are being targeted by criminals in the Beckenham area.

A letter has been sent out warning owners of the small cars to be on their guard.

PC Bowyer, of Copers Cope Ward, wrote: "A crime pattern has emerged recently where Fiat 500s are being stolen or parts are being removed from the vehicles.

"The vehicles are generally targeted overnight and we are asking that you will remain vigilant and take steps to protect your vehicle.

"If you own a garage, please park your vehicle in there. If you do not have a driveway or a garage, please try and park your vehicle in a well lit area or by a CCTV camera if available. Please ensure the vehicle is locked and alarmed at all times."

One owner who had her Fiat 500 targeted is Samantha Fletcher.

Her car had parts removed in the early hours of Friday morning (January 5) in Queen's Road.

Ms Fletcher, 38, told News Shopper: "I parked it under a street light. At midnight I saw it was there. When I woke up it was not where I parked it.

"I realised it was parked over a bay. I'm really OCD about parking in a bay.

"I thought someone had crashed into it at first but the headlight unit was gone, the number plate was on the floor and the door was broken in.

"They used the handbrake to move it back to release the bonnet."

She said that other people had reported on social media since before Christmas about having their Fiat 500s vandalised.

"Not many people have a garage in London and these cars don't have alarm systems fitted," she said.

Ms Fletcher's insurance company wants to write the car off, something which would leave the driver £2,000 short after she bought it secondhand in September for £6,000.

She said there was no CCTV footage near where her car was targeted and police confirmed that gloves were used by whoever stole the parts.

A man was arrested last night (January 7) on suspicion of theft of a Fiat 500 and is being held at a south London police station.

A police spokesman told News Shopper: "The investigation is ongoing and police urge anyone with information about this matter to contact them."