12:02PM, Thursday 29 April 2021
Police have been cracking down on catalytic converter thieves as part of a week-long programme of action.
From April 19, Thames Valley Police (TVP) took part in a national effort to combat the criminal activity.
The force says that the crime is on the rise nationally because catalytic converters, which help reduce the release of toxic gases from the exhaust pipe, contain metals which can be sold for a high price.
During the week, officers worked with local garages to advise on options available to protect catalytic converters on vehicles, such as installing protective cages.
Other potential ideas include applying a property marking solution to the catalytic converters, making them less appealing to thieves and easier to trace if they are recovered after being stolen.
Officers also visited 92 scrap metal merchants and other businesses that collect and buy metal to share advice on how to spot thieves who may be looking to dispose of stolen catalytic converters.
Detective Superintendent Jim Weems, leading the operation for Thames Valley Police, said: “Catalytic converter theft is on the rise nationally as well as in the Thames Valley due to the increase in price for the precious metals contained within them.
"Offenders are organised in their execution of the crime and often steal a catalytic converter in minutes.
“This crime has a significant impact on victims who find themselves without their vehicle to get around and often have to join a waiting list to obtain a replacement.
“There are three steps to reducing your risk of falling victim to this type of crime; protect, mark and park.
"Protect your car by asking your dealer if they can give you any advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer and tested to standard.
“Mark your catalytic converter with a forensic marker and register your converter to make it harder for thieves to dispose of.
“Park your car somewhere well-lit and overlooked, amongst as many cars as possible.
"Try to park so the converter can't be easily reached, such as close to a wall or fence. Try not to park at the end of the row if there are free spaces.
“This week of action intensified our work along with other forces nationally but this activity is by no means a one-off for us.
“I ask the public to continue working with us in reporting any suspicious activity to the police, either online or on 101. If a crime is in progress then always call 999. Together we can beat catalytic converter thieves."
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