New tool to combat catalytic converter thefts
Officers in Lutterworth have been giving out free marking kits to owners of vehicles thought to be at risk, reports the Lutterworth Mail.Catalytic converters have been fitted in the majority of petrol...
Catalytic converters have been fitted in the majority of petrol cars made since 1992. They considerably reduce harmful pollutants from a vehicle's exhaust.
Catalytic converter theft is a growing problem. Thieves are increasingly targeting them because of the high value of the precious metals – platinum, palladium and rhodium – they contain.
The credit crunch and rising price of precious metals have only served to exacerbate the problem.
It is hoped the new marking kit being rolled out in Littleborough will allow their owners to get long term use out of their cars' converters, allowing them to send the devices off for scrap or catalytic converter recycling towards the end of their lifecycle.
In Littleborough, thieves struck eight vehicles in one night, between Saturday June 16thand Sunday June 17th.
The anti-theft kits contain a stencil a little bottle of an acidic substance which is painted onto the converter and marks it.
Sergeant Peter Jelbert, of Lutterworth police, told the Lutterworth Mail: "The kits we have can be taken to a garage and they mark the catalytic converter with an etching which means it can be traced to the owner if it is recovered.
"The thieves normally target 4x4 vehicles, because the catalytic converter is more easily accessible on those – but more recently they seem to be even targeting specific models of 4x4 vehicles.
"They normally use power tools to remove the devices, as it can be done fairly quickly, so we would urge owners of 4x4s to be vigilant and, if possible, park their vehicles in well-lit areas."
The kits are free, although they can be bought once supplies at the police station are exhausted.
Recently it was reported that metal thefts – including catalytic converters – in Sussex have almost quadrupled in two years.
Figures released by police shows there were 1,748 cases reported in 2011 compared to 472 in 2009.
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