So-called ‘Corsa Cannibals’ have struck at least 25 times in Teeside since August, stealing and stripping the cars down.
These are the latest in a wave of more than 500 similar cases in which parts were stolen from Vauxhall Astras and Corsas in Bedfordshire in the past two years.
The thieves have taken parts in varying quantities and have in some cases left vehicles with damage far too extensive to make repairs viable for their owners.
In the latest incident to be reported, a one-year-old Vauxhall Corsa VXR 1.6 was targeted, leaving the owner facing a repair bill of around £23,000 – the same as what the car was worth when it was new.
The 22-year-old owner, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “They had smashed the passenger seat window to get the hand brake off then pushed it down the street to the field.
“When I came out in the morning to go to work the car was gone.
“I laughed at first, I thought someone was having a laugh. Then I started to panic.”
A dog walker discovered the car in a nearby field where it had been stripped of its parts.
“They clearly knew what they were doing and must have had all the proper tools,” the owner added.
A 40-year-old man was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of theft and has been released on bail pending investigation.
Vauxhall has denied that there is anything that would make its cars more susceptible to such a crime, other than the popularity of the models.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.