Thefts of catalytic converters in North Wales rise by more than 400% in a year
Thefts of catalytic converters in North Wales have risen by more than 400 per cent in a year, according to new research.
Data obtained from 25 police forces by Which? shows that, between 2019 and 2020 alone, incidents of theft in England, Northern Ireland and Wales rose 104 per cent on average.
North Wales Police saw the highest rise in the number of thefts, rising from nine in 2019 to 46 in 2020 – an increase of 411%.
The West Midlands had the highest number of cases in 2020, with 1,626.
The exhaust emission control devices are being taken as they contain precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium, the price of which has risen sharply in recent years.
Which? said a combination of factors including surging global demand for vehicles, as well as a slump in mining during the pandemic, has meant that the price of the precious metals contained within catalytic converters has risen exponentially.
A single scrap catalytic converter is currently worth around £400 and cars such as older Toyota and Honda models are particularly at risk.
Researchers found ads offering cash for scrap converters on Facebook Marketplace, an offence under the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act.
According to Which? older hybrid cars “have been disproportionately affected” due to their higher concentration of precious metals.
“Older models being targeted creates a further headache, as you risk having your car written off by your insurer if the cost of repair outweighs the value of your car.” Which? said.
Toyota said: “Catalytic converter theft is a serious problem in the UK and its effect on victims are emotional as well as financial. We continue to do all we can both as a manufacturer and working with police and others to help put an end to this crime.”
“But ultimately as a car company, our scope of action is always going to be limited.”
Officers from North Flintshire police issued an alert earlier in the year following a spike in thefts locally.
And police in North Wales carried out an operation last month targeting catalytic converter thefts.
At the time a police spokesperson said: “Extra policing was undertaken in the vicinity of scrap yards – we also had conversations with the owners and we asked for their assistance moving forwards, although these car parts are often transported by criminals to other areas of the country, and even into Europe.
“The smart water marker pens are used to put security details on the catalytic converter, making any seized items easier to identify.
“As part of our proactive approach, we will check catalytic converters when stopping vehicles attending scrap yards with them, or when we are visiting scrap yards generally as part of our work with the Environment Agency.
“Members of the public attending scrap dealers to sell metals are required to show ID and provide bank details.”
To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen, you should:
• Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn’t an option, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area
• Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make the theft more difficult
• Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
• If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing you bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it
• If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
• Alternatively, you can also etch a serial number on the converter
• You can even purchase a ‘cage clamp’ which is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove
• Speak to your dealership about the possibility of adding a tilt sensor that will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter
• If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations
Any one that has information about catalytic converter thefts should contact police on 101 or via the webchat https://www.north-wales.police.uk/contact/live-chat-support.
Or call Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com