May 21 2013 Latest news:
Officers from the Babergh West Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) will be clamping down on catalytic converter theft with a special free security-marking day at Red Star Garage, Sudbury. Pictured is PCSOs Jamie Fudge.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
POLICE in Suffolk have renewed a warning to vehicle owners after four catalytic converters were stolen in the past three days.
The county’s crime prevention officer David Kane said theft of the emission control devices from 4x4 vehicles was “rife” and had risen significantly during the past year as the value of metal had increased.
In Suffolk alone, there have been 102 reported thefts of catalytic converters since the beginning of the year. Because of their external location and the use of valuable metals including platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold, converters have become an easy target for thieves.
The Suffolk force is currently backing a national Crimestoppers scheme aimed at stamping out the crime, and is in the process of carrying out a series of catalytic converter marking days across the county.
In the most recent cases, a catalytic converter was cut from a Toyota Hi Ace parked on a driveway in Further Street, Assington near Sudbury during the early hours of Monday morning. Then the following day in the village’s Barracks Road, a Ford Ranger pickup was also targeted.
A further two incidents occured in Boxford this week. On Monday night, a Mitsubishi Warrior parked in Cox Hill was hit by thieves and a second vehicle – a Mitsubishi Shogun – in Brook Hall Road had its catalytic converter removed.
Mr Kane said: “Vehicles with a high ground clearance such as 4x4s are often sought out because thieves can take a grinder and remove a catalytic converter without too much effort. These types of vehicles are being targeted in residential areas, but also on industrial estates, farms and on garage forecourts. A community bus service in Sudbury has been hit three times, with converters stolen from its vehicles that have cost up to £3,000 to replace.”
Because of the link to precious metal theft, Suffolk’s rural crime prevention officers have worked extensively with trading standards to monitor and educate local scrap metal merchants. The marking program is aimed at enabling police to track converters once they have been stolen.
Mr Kane added: “We are urging people to think carefully about where they park to make it more difficult for criminals to get underneath and access the catalytic converters. We are also asking owners of such vehicles to get their catalytic converters marked so we can ascertain where they have been stolen from if a supply is discovered.”
Police have issued the following tips:
• Keep private vehicles in a secure garage, or in a well-lit public area
• Park vehicles so access to the catalytic converter is difficult
• Parallel park with another vehicle if you own one
• Keep commercial vehicles in a locked building or compound
• Use alarms, lighting and CCTV to deter thieves