Call 999 to report catalytic converter thefts amid 141% rise in cases, say police
Vehicle owners are being urged to call 999 if they see or hear of a catalytic converter theft as cases rise 141 percent over four years.
Thieves stole 758 catalytic converters from vehicles in Cambridgeshire in 2022, compared to 314 in 2019.
A further 133 thefts were recorded as of January 31 this year, prompting police to urge local residents to report any suspicious behavior near vehicles so that action can be taken as soon as possible.
Toyotas and Hondas were primarily targeted, but other vehicles such as Lexus, Mercedes, Mazda and Volkswagen were also singled out.
Detective Inspector Dan Cooper, who is leading the police response to the catalytic converter theft, said: “We believe multiple groups of people are coming from the county to carry out these thefts.
“It takes these people just minutes to remove a catalytic converter and in many cases victims are unaware their vehicle was attacked even though it was parked in their driveway.
“We have recently seen an increase in people reporting the thefts promptly, which in some cases has led to arrests and confiscations of stolen catalytic converters.
“We urge people to look out for jacked vehicles (particularly in the middle of the vehicle) and listen for the sound of metal being cut. There may be a vehicle nearby with the engine running, involving two or three people.
“Please do not approach these people, they have a history of being violent and may even carry guns. Instead, call us and let us know the vehicle’s license plate number and any other details that might help us.”
Catalytic converters are found in the exhaust system of every car and reduce the emission of toxic gases and pollutants. Stealing them has become popular because it can take less than two minutes and the metals they contain make them not easy to identify when resold.
In response to 999 calls, police have made arrests and numerous investigations are ongoing. Targeted day- and week-long patrols are being carried out and police have visited scrap dealers and offered free catalytic converter marking to almost 300 vehicles in Peterborough and Huntingdon.
Anyone who sees anything suspicious is asked to call 999.
For more information on catalyst theft, visit https://bit.ly/3Hv2gtJ