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By Haddenham Webteam - 10th December 2020 8:30pm
Thames Valley Police have issued a warning to motorists following an increasing number of thefts of catalytic converters.
Offenders are most commonly targeting parked Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris, Honda Jazz, Honda Civic, Honda CRVs and Lexus RX400 vehicles.
Officers are investigating the offences, many of which are believed to be linked.
Since the start of the year, there have been 1,210 offences reported to the force up to the end of November, with an increasing number of reports since August.
In many of the cases, offenders use car jacks to lift the vehicle and are able to remove the catalytic converter in a matter of minutes.
Detective Superintendent Jim Weems, Head of Intelligence, said: "We are taking these offences seriously and investigating in our efforts to identify and arrest offenders.
"It appears there are a number of factors contributing to the increase in the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles. Significantly, they contain precious metals, from which criminals are profiting.
"Not only does it cause distress and inconvenience, it is likely to cost victims to replace it and repair any damage to the vehicle."
There are a number of steps you can take to try to protect your vehicle's catalytic converter. Please speak to your vehicle's manufacturer to establish what locks and guards are available.
If your catalytic converter is 'bolt on,' you can speak to a mechanic about having the bolts welded shut.
When parking in a car park and having to leave your vehicle unattended, try to park with the front of your car against a wall and avoid parking at the end of a row. This makes it harder for offenders to gain access.
When at home, if you can, park your vehicle in a locked garage or, if that is not possible, park in a busy well-lit area, as close to your property as possible. You can also consider installing a Thatcham-approved alarm to your vehicle, one that activates when the vehicle is lifted or tilted offers effective protection. You can also mark your catalytic converter with a forensic marker.
Det Supt Weems added: "You may see what appears to be people carrying out repairs or work to a car but please look closely and report any suspicious activity to us immediately. Within moments, the catalytic converter may be gone. If you see such a crime in progress, please call 999 immediately."
Anyone with any information about catalytic converter thefts should call the non-emergency number 101.