South Yorkshire Police warn car owners of catalytic convertor thefts
South Yorkshire Police are warning of the risk of catalytic converter theft, particularly if your car has large ground clearance. Thieves are targeting catalysts – located in the exhaust system under the vehicle – because of the high value of the precious metals they contain.
A catalytic converter helps to reduce the emissions coming out of a vehicle and makes them safer to the atmosphere. They contain precious metals like gold and platinum. As the exhaust gases pass through, the construction then removes all the harmfulness in the gases.
The recent high prices for precious metals have resulted in a noticeable increase in thefts of catalytic converters. Thieves simply cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked car and sell them on to scrap metal dealers. Larger vehicles are particularly vulnerable as the converters are more accessible and because they tend to have larger engines, they contain more of the precious metals too.
Acting Detective Sergeant Jamie Henderson leads the Rotherham Metal Theft Team. He says "If someone drives without a Catalytic Convertor they will hear an excessively loud revving like a racing car. It can also be very dangerous as fumes may start to come into the vehicle. A trained technician takes several hours to properly remove a CAT, however we are aware of some thieves that literally take seconds to rip them from vehicles leaving them in particularly dangerous conditions and costing upwards of £1000 to repair."
Depending on the size of the CAT, thieves get between £50 - £250.
So far in Rotherham this year there have been 17 reported instances where vehicles have been targeted for the Catalytic Convertor compared to 17 throughout the whole of 2011 and 10 in 2010.
To reduce the risk of theft of your vehicles catalytic converter the advice from the Metal Theft Team is to garage your vehicle whenever possible, park in well-lit busy areas, look out for people working under cars and to consider marking the metal shell of the converter with a unique mark, so that if it is removed by thieves it will be easier to trace back to your vehicle.
Tackling Metal Theft is a priority for South Yorkshire Police and if anyone has any information about the theft of catalytic convertors or other metal then please contact South Yorkshire Police on the non emergency number 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.