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Former Olympian in his 80s scares off catalytic converter thief

PUBLISHED: 07:11 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:29 30 October 2020

88-year-old Terry Smith from Colchester faced a catalytic convertor thief in a supermarket car park Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

88-year-old Terry Smith from Colchester faced a catalytic convertor thief in a supermarket car park Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

An 88-year-old former Olympian chased off a thief who was trying to steal the catalytic converter from his car after he parked outside Sainsbury’s.

Terry Smith had been out doing some shopping when he came across the thief Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDTerry Smith had been out doing some shopping when he came across the thief Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Terry Smith, from Copford near Colchester was shopping at the Sainsbury’s store in Stanway and returned to his car to find it had been pulled up on a trolley jack.

As Mr Smith, an Olympic bronze medal winning sailor, got closer he could see a man who trying to cut the catalytic converter from his Honda.

Mr Smith confronted the man asking him what he was doing and the man quickly disappeared into another car.

“I held onto his door but the car drove off,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith has since been able to fix his car Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDMr Smith has since been able to fix his car Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Staff from the supermarket came across to check on Mr Smith after the ordeal.

“One of the trolley men came over to take me to security,” said Mr Smith.

“But they couldn’t help.

“I could not understand why in a car park as big as that why my car appeared to be the only one damaged.”

He decided to drive home but didn’t get too far before realising the thief had caused major damage trying to remove the catalytic converter.

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To make matters worse, Mr Smith’s car had only been back on the road for two weeks after he had scrapped another vehicle.

The attempted theft cost Mr Smith £175 in repairs.

“It’s not put me off driving,” said Mr Smith. “But it’s put me off parking at Sainsbury’s.”

This comes after reports on social media of similar incidents in the Stanway area.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We are investigating following an incident in Stanway where a man was reported to have been interfering with a vehicle.

“It was reported the owner of the vehicle had returned to it in the car park at Sainsbury’s in Western Approach at around 4.30pm on 17 October to find a man who he believed was trying to remove the catalytic converter.

“He confronted the man who then got into another vehicle and left the area.”

Sainsbury’ was contacted for comment.

If you have any information about the incident contact Essex Police on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/169287/20 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

MORE: Crime down more than 15% in Suffolk and Essex during lockdown


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