Van centre backs police initiative to deter thieves

Etching catalytic converters with the vehicle registration number to deter thieves.

Etching catalytic converters with the vehicle registration number to deter thieves. - Credit: supplied

A motoring event aimed at reducing vehicle crime has been hailed a great success.

Suffolk police worked with technicians at Volkswagen Van Centre at Bury St Edmunds to help 36 van owners get their catalytic converters etched to deter thieves.

The day primarily targeted owners of vehicles with a high ground clearance – vans and 4x4s – because they are easier to get under and so more attractive to potential thieves.

Thefts of catalytic convertors have been rising in recent years so PCSO Matthew Smith, of Bury East/West Safer Neighbourhood Team, was delighted with the day’s success.

He said: “A shocking 37 catalytic converters have been reported stolen from motor vehicles across Suffolk in the last four months.

“We regularly hold free events like this to help local businesses and members of the public tackle this type of vehicle crime.

“This is the first time we have worked in conjunction with a van centre but actually the collaboration with Volkswagen Van Centre Bury St Edmunds was integral to the day’s success as it meant we could inspect more vehicles than we have ever previously been able to do. Out of the 36 vehicles we checked, 26 of them needed to be marked.”

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Thieves target catalytic converters for the scrap metal value. The crime prevention activity saw the catalytic converters etched with the vehicle registration number and marked with a heat-resistant silver spray. Both act as a deterrent to thieves and make stolen parts easily identifiable to scrap dealers.

David Nichols, head of business at Volkswagen Van Centre (Bury St Edmunds), said: “Based on the day’s success we are planning to host future events at our Ipswich site, Wolsey Van Centre, and here at our Bury St Edmunds site again in the new year.”

The van centre team also provided complimentary vehicle health checks to every van owner who attended.

For information on future catalytic convertor marking events telephone 01284 715900.