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Increase in thefts of catalytic converters – police offer advice to motorists

With scrap metal continuing to fetch high prices, police in Llanelli are reporting a number of thefts over the last few weeks where thieves are targeting vehicles fitted with Catalytic Convertors.

In particular, thieves are singling out vehicles on driveways of private properties. The thefts have occurred overnight and in particular Peugeot 206 vehicles have been targeted and areas around LLwynhendy.

"While the theft of the converter can net the offender in excess of £60.00 per vehicle, the costs to the owner to replace the item can run to several hundred pounds and there’s the inconvenience of the vehicle being off the road,” said Sergeant Stuart Bell.

“I’d advise owners to be vigilant and consider adopting some or all of the measures shown below to help protect their vehicle against this type of theft.”

Defensive Parking - If it is possible park the vehicle in a garage or out of sight. This will help prevent access to the vulnerable area of the vehicle and at the very least slow the thieves down making the target less attractive.

Property marking - Etching a catalytic converter with a serial number will help police track a stolen converter to a specific injured party and overtly advertising that a vehicle is protected by property marking may also deter offenders as it will potentially reduce the opportunities for selling on the converters at reputable scrap metal dealers. More information on ID etching can be found at www.retainagroup.co.uk.

Welded Bolts If a catalytic converter is a "bolt on” it is possible to have the bolts welded shut. This is only a deterrent to the lowest grade of catalytic converter thief working with a spanner but may still be enough of a deterrent to help prevent a theft.

Catalytic Converter Protective Sleeves Protective coverings are quite expensive but make it much more difficult for the saw wielding thief to steal catalytic converters.

Effective Security Lighting - Good security lighting can make vehicles more visible and improve natural surveillance. External dusk to dawn lighting which automatically stays on during the hours of darkness and goes off as it starts to get light in areas where there is good surveillance from other people, makes the target less attractive.

CCTV / Alarms - The installation of CCTV to cover parking areas can help reduce theft. The use of driveway alarms can help alert you to anyone trespassing on your property.