Catalytic converter theft – don’t be a victim

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Police are warning of the continuing threat posed by gangs of catalytic converter thieves.

There were at least six thefts in the Fetcham and Bookham area in one four-week period over January and February.  Since then three more thefts have been reported from Ashtead, Leatherhead and Newdigate.

PCSO Marion Hawkins, the Neighbourhood Police Officer for Fetcham, briefed the FRA at its committee meeting earlier this month.

Her first piece of advice was to check if your car is vulnerable because of its make or model.

An internet search quickly reveals the top target models, such as the Honda Jazz and CRV, and Toyota Prius and Auris. The converter is intended to reduce harmful exhaust emissions.

Precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters, and the price of these metals has rocketed in recent years.

Fetcham Neighbourhood PCSO Marion Hawkins briefed the FRA Committee

Surrey Police say that with an angle grinder, thieves can remove a catalytic converter from under a car in as little as 20 seconds.

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 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.
  • 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.
  • You can also purchase a ‘cage clamp’ which is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove. Toyota are offering a 'Catloc' for the Prius (3rd generation, 2009-2011 models) and Auris (2nd generation, 2012-2018 models). Please contact your Toyota dealership for more information.
  • Speak to your dealership about the possibility of installing a Thatcham approved alarm and tilt sensor that will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter.

There’s plenty more advice on the internet, including this article from West Yorkshire Police.

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