Police urge public to be on alert after spike in catalytic converter thefts

A clamp down on catalytic converter thieves has been launched in Nottinghamshire following a spike in this type of theft once again.

By Sophie Wills
Sunday, 21st March 2021, 9:46 am

More than 90 have been stolen since the start of the year across the county, with nine catalytic converters taken from cars across the county in a single night during the latest spate.

The increase in these thefts is a national, and even an international issue, as the catalytic converters contain two valuable metals, rhodium and palladium- the cost of which increased during 2020, and has recently gone up again.

Hybrid cars are particularly vulnerable because their converters are cleaner, which means the metals inside them are less likely to corrode.

It is believed gangs operate looking for cars to target as they can steal the catalytic convertors within minutes by using a few basic tools.

Nottinghamshire Police is investigating this series of incidents under Operation Yachtsman with the aim of flushing out the criminals locally.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Waldram, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "During the previous spike towards the end of 2019, we saw cars being targeted mainly in large car parks.

"However, with Covid and less people parking to go to work during lock down, the criminals shifted to residential areas instead and as a consequence a large proportion of the catalytic converter thefts we're investigating now have taken place outside people’s homes.”

Officers are exploring the possibility that the incidents are linked but are keeping an open mind while their enquiries continue.

DCI Waldram is now urging people to be vigilant in their area and if they spot anything suspicious to call 999 immediately as this will be treated as a crime in progress.

"While we are focusing on the investigation of these offences, we have also put in place extra patrols in some of the area we know to be repeat locations,” he added.

“We are determined to find those that are responsible. If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations.

"Victims of catalytic converter thefts are left with costly repair bills and without a car, something which can have a huge impact on their lives and leaves them unable to get to work or make important journeys.

“Thieves target them because they contain high value metals and can be taken incredibly quickly. However, there are a number of things vehicle owners can do to offer themselves further protection if they don’t have a garage, and we are also asking vehicle owners to take note of these.

“The first thing to do is to find out where your catalytic converter is located on your car. If it's at the front then park with the bonnet towards a wall if possible. If it's at the back, park with your exhaust to the wall.

"Avoid parking half on the pavement and half on the road as this may make it easier for thieves to get under your car.

"If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove. You can even purchase a ‘cage clamp’, a device which makes converters more difficult to remove."

"Another option for drivers is to ask their garage or dealership to fit a tilt sensor, which activates an alarm if anyone tries to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter.”

Anyone spotting a crime in progress is urged to ring 999. Anyone with any other information is asked to ring 101, or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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