Late last night I had a depressing ‘phone call from my uncle, who lives in Little Venice, close to London’s Paddington Station.

It’s a pretty smart area, and the roads are lined with some pretty attractive upmarket metal. However over the last couple of days one street in particular has suffered the loss of some serious upmarket plastic.

He told me that sometime on Saturday a BMW 330Ci had its front bumper stolen. Apparently, the whole lower front end, including the numberplate and fog lamps, had been neatly removed at the roadside.

Then, on Sunday evening, a previous-model M5 suffered the same fate. At 2pm, the M5 was in one piece. By 6pm, it, too, had lost its front bumper, fog lamps and numberplate.

Removing a front bumper at the side of the road is impressive, never mind pulling it off in broad daylight.

I thought this sort of sub-scum behaviour was all in the past. Back in the early 1990s, Golf GTis were particularly targeted. The wife of one motoring hack had the windscreen taken out of her Golf overnight and my brother’s Mk2 GTi 16v lost its side rubbing strips.

Those simple black plastic strips were targeted because they were otherwise unobtainable factory-issue and identified by a red ‘16V’ logo.