Police are warning drivers to be on the alert after a rise in the theft of catalytic converters in recent months in the county with specific vehicle models being targeted.
The most commonly targeted vehicles are Honda Accord V-Type and VTEC variants, registered between 1998 and 2004, and police are writing to owners of these vehicles to warn them to be vigilant.
Mercedes Sprinter Vans are also among the most commonly targeted vehicles but the problem is not exclusive to these two types, say police, with various 4X4s, Fords, Mazdas, Toyotas and Peugeot 307s also featuring.
Thieves are quickly able to remove the catalytic converters from these vehicles and, whilst the cost of replacement of the units themselves may not seem high, owners can be left with expensive repair bills due to the additional damage being done to the vehicles during the theft.
By following some simple advice, owners can greatly reduce the opportunity for thieves to commit this type of crime:
If you can, park your vehicle in a locked garage when it’s unattended. If you park your vehicle on your driveway, consider making it harder to get at by blocking it with another vehicle or park it in a manner that makes it difficult to gain access to the cabin.
If it’s not possible to garage your vehicle, park it in a busy well-lit area as close to your property as possible and tell your neighbours to be aware of bogus mechanics working on vehicles or other suspicious activity or if you see a recovery vehicle present and your neighbours are out.
Find out how expensive your vehicle’s catalytic converter is to replace. Whilst it’s not a hard and fast rule, newer items that are expensive to replace are more likely to be sold complete, whilst older items or those units that are less expensive to replace are more likely to be broken down for their metal content. If your converter is expensive to replace consider registering and marking it with a catalytic converter marking and registration product as a minimum.
Whatever the cost of the replacement part, the cost and inconvenience of replacing your catalytic converter in addition to the extra cost of repairing the additional damage to your vehicle can be very high. A purpose designed and police approved catalytic converter alarm system can be purchased for under £200.
If you use a security device or a marking system, advertise it by placing the supplied window stickers prominently in your vehicle.
For further advice contact your local Crime Prevention Officer on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Report any suspicious activity on 101.