Three residents of Repentigny reported that winter tires were stolen off their cars this week, police in the community east of Montreal said.

The tires were all stolen in the same neighbourhood on Wednesday night.

The car owners found their vehicles sitting on wooden blocks, said Repentigny police Sgt. Paul Diamond.

Quebec's mandatory winter tire law comes into effect this year, which could help explain the theft, Diamond said. 

Garages have reported a surge in sales, possibly creating a black market for tires.

Consumer advocates are warning Quebecers to safeguard their winter tires.

Drivers can install a wheel lock which "basically replaces one of the lug nuts in the wheel, and to remove it, you can't use a normal socket, you have to use a special socket, which is a key," said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association.

The mandatory tire law means about 350,000 more Quebecers will be buying snow tires this year, according to Iny.