Since the beginning of June 2014 there have been 185 catalytic converter thefts from vehicles across Suffolk and Norfolk. Vans and cars with higher ground clearance are being targeted. In the last 4-week period there have been 43 offences across the two counties: 13 in Norfolk and 30 in Suffolk.
Offences are most commonly being committed during the hours of darkness, with weekday overnight periods still being favoured. Reported sights, sounds, disturbances by witnesses suggest the key time-frame may be between midnight and 4.00 am. Offences continue to occur along or near to the more major transport routes (A12/A14).
How are the catalytic converters removed ?
- A pipe cutter, or similar, tool is used to cut the CAT from the pipe. Mitsubishi L200s, Shoguns & Warriors; Ford Rangers and Toyota Hilux & Hiaces remain the most common targets with Peugeot 406s becoming more prevalent. Offences are most commonly occurring in residential locations.
- The quarterlight window is removed and/or smashed to gain access to the bonnet release. The exhaust system is then accessed, unbolted and then is either taken, in its entirety, or discarded after the CAT has been cut free. This is almost exclusively targeted Mercedes Sprinter vans. Most were parked at business premises or compounds, in Suffolk.
- The exhaust is unbolted. Bolts or screws have been left on the ground on a number of occasions. Sometimes the whole exhaust has been removed, then the Cat Converter cut out and sometimes fairings or other items have been reportedly unbolted to allow better access and only the CAT has been taken.
How do I protect my vehicle?
- Park your vehicle in a locked and secure garage/compound at all times
- The use of alarms, lighting and CCTV should be considered to deter thieves
- If this isn’t possible park in a well-lit, public area
- Vehicles can be parked in such a way as to make access to the catalytic converter difficult, or parallel with another vehicle if you own one
- Look out for people ‘working’ under vehicles as they may not be the owners or lease holders, even if they have fluorescent jackets on
- Mark your catalytic converter by etching your vehicle registration onto the metal shell, or by using a Secured By Design (SBD) approved forensic marking solution which is a heat-resistant paint. This makes it easier for police to trace the converter back to your vehicle should it ever be stolen, and links offenders to a crime
- Consider fitting additional security on your vehicle(s) by installing an SBD approved converter security product, such as a clamp
- Please visit the SBD website www.securedbydesign.com for more information on police approved security products
Catalytic Converter marking sessions
Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) are running catalytic converter marking sessions across the county in partnership with local garages. If you would like more information about your local SNT and events in your area this is available on-line or you can call the Suffolk Police non emergency number 101.
If you see or hear anything suspicious please contact Suffolk Police on 101.
In an emergency always dial 999.