Police warning as catalytic converter thefts continue

There has been a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Suffolk Picture: GETTY IMAGES

There has been a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Suffolk Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A spate of catalytic converter thefts across Ipswich and west Suffolk has prompted a warning from police for people to remain vigilant.

In February this year, more than 35 incidents over four weeks were reported to Suffolk police but dozens of further thefts have come to light since then.

Newmarket, Haverhill, Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds, and Ipswich are among the places hardest hit by catalytic converter (CAT) thieves.

In June, three cars were targeted in the car park of West Suffolk Hospital in Bury, while six thefts have been reported in Haverhill over the past three weeks alone.

Catalytic converters are attractive to thieves because they contain several other metals, including copper, nickel, cerium, iron and manganese. Small amounts of rhodium are also found within a catalytic converter.

Rhodium, like platinum and palladium, is very rare and valuable.

A pipe cutter, or similar, tool is used to cut the CAT from the pipe and offences are most common in residential locations, according to police.

MORE: Catalytic converters stolen from vehicles in hospital car parkHybrid vehicles are a particular target as they have two power sources – electric and petrol or diesel – and therefore the catalytic converter is used less frequently to process pollutants.

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This means the metals are less likely to corrode and they are worth more – and therefore more attractive to thieves.

Precious metals must be used because the catalytic converters have to work well enough to meet emissions standards.

Detective Inspector Greg Moore urged people to be the “eyes and ears” of their local communities.

He said: “We are aware of a recent increase in thefts of catalytic converters and are addressing this operationally. I’d urge members of the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity and support us in being the ‘eyes and ears’ of local communities, making note of any suspicious vehicles and people in the area.

“With the price of scrap metal rising, this crime is a national trend with catalytic converters valuable commodities which criminals, some of whom are likely to be part of an organised network, are targeting and selling on.

“Crucially, I would advise fitting an anti-theft device and get your catalytic converter marked to deter thieves.

“If you notice any suspicious activity or have any information where the stolen catalytic converters are being sold on then please get in touch with police.”

Suffolk police has asked vehicle owners to remain vigilant by:

• Keeping private vehicles parked in secure garages where possible and if no garage is available, in a well-lit public area.

• Keep commercial vehicles in a locked building or compound.

• Use alarms, lighting and CCTV to deter thieves.

MORE: Further catalytic converter thefts reported in SuffolkThe catalytic converter can also be marked by etching the vehicle registration onto the metal shell or by using a Secured by Design (SBD) approved forensic marking solution – which is heat-resistant.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, or make a report online to Suffolk police here.

Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, at 0800 555111 or report information via the independent charity’s website here.