Suffolk: catalytic converter thefts valued at �52,000

TRUCK and van drivers are being urged protect their catalytic converters in the wake of a spate of thefts in the county.

Free converter marking sessions are being laid on around the county by Suffolk Constabulary as part of a bid to stamp out the thefts, which have been valued at �52,000 in the past two months.

The catalytic converters are engraved or stamped and marked with heat-resistant paint.

Sessions will be held at Mitchell Motors in Hollands Road, Haverhill, from 10am until 4pm on February 21 and 27.

Sessions will be held on February 22 from 10am until 4pm at John Banks Ltd, in Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds; the Ambulance Centre, Milford Service Area, Barton Mills; Barley Green Garage in Laxfield Road, Stradbroke; Truck East in Violet Hill Road, Stowmarket. A session will also be held at the Alpheton Garage in Tye Green, Alpheton on February 22 from 9am until noon.

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Detective Inspector Andy Footer said: “Since December catalytic converters have been targeted all over the county, but predominantly in West Suffolk, with 52 stolen.

“It can take just minutes for a thief to remove the catalytic converter from your vehicle – but now it can take even less time to get yours marked.

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“I would like to thank the garages for providing space for the marking sessions.

“Any 4x4 or van driver will be able to visit these garages during the sessions and have their catalytic converter marked by the safer neighbourhood teams for free.

“I would particularly encourage drivers of vehicles such as Ford Rangers and Mercedes Sprinter vans, as an example, to come along, as these are the vehicles most targeted. A letter has been sent to registered owners of vehicles we believe to be at risk in west Suffolk.

“The catalytic converters will be engraved or stamped with the owner’s postcode and also marked with heat-resistant silver paint.

“Drivers will receive signs for their vehicles to warn criminals that the catalytic converter is identifiable if stolen.

“If police officers stop any vehicles with catalytic converters on board that we suspect are stolen, we will be able to check them for the markings and trace the owner.

“The catalytic converters stolen in Suffolk since December are worth a total �52,000, that’s on average �1000 per vehicle.

“This does not take into account the lost time and money when your vehicle won’t start, has to be towed to the garage, and you have to find alternate means of transport for yourself or your business when you vehicle is off the road.

“With metal prices remaining high, I would encourage all drivers of utility or commercial vehicles to come to one of the marking sessions and make your catalytic converter unattractive to criminals.”

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