Police warning after catalytic converter thefts rise across Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 12:02 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 17 May 2019

Catalytic converters are a target for thieves due to the precious metals they contain. Picture: DANNY LOO

Catalytic converters are a target for thieves due to the precious metals they contain. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

There has been a rise in the theft of catalytic converters across Herts, with dozens of incidents taking place in recent months, particularly in Hertsmere and St Albans.

Toyota Prius' have been particularly targeted, with more than half of recorded catalytic convertor thefts in Herts involving this model.

Catalytic converters are fitted to the exhaust systems of vehicles and thieves target them because of the precious metals they contain.

In the St Albans area there have been 21 incidents of catalytic converter thefts, six in Welwyn Hatfield, three in North Herts and one in Stevenage.

While these thefts have often targeted Prius', other models are still vulnerable - such as a Honda Accord and a Ford Ranger.

Reports indicate that offenders are committing the thefts during daylight hours with little concern for onlookers.

The public is urged to remain vigilant and report incidents of catalytic converter theft, particularly where suspicious people are jacking up or working under cars in public car parks or roads.

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To minimise the chance of becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft the Neighbourhood Watch has several suggestions:

- Lock your car in a garage when parked at night.

- When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make theft difficult.

- Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible and can also act as a deterrent.

- If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.

- Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota manufactured CATLOC device, as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.

- Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked, and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.

- Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security. If you have a garage at home, ensure you use it and lock it properly.

- Even noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don't want to alert you to their approach.

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