Police are asking motorists to be vigilant following a recent increase in thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles.
Catalytic converters are attractive to thieves due to the current high prices of the metals inside them, and because they are relatively quick and easy to steal. Hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius, which have more valuable catalytic converters, are particularly likely to be targeted.
During the past six months, Avon and Somerset police have seen a spike in these types of thefts at Park and Rides in North Somerset, Bath, Bristol and Taunton. Neighbourhood police are carrying out targeted patrols of the affected areas.
Police have also been visiting local scrap merchants to remind them of their responsibilities. Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, dealers must request photographic identification and proof of address from people selling scrap to them. The law also bars cash payments for scrap.
If you see someone acting suspiciously around a vehicle, report it to police on 101. Ideally, provide a vehicle registration/make/model and colour, and a description of the suspects.
If you witness a crime in progress, call 999.
You can help to deter thieves by:
• Parking your vehicle in a secure garage overnight or somewhere that makes it difficult for thieves to access its underside
• Parking where neighbours and passers-by could see anyone tampering with the vehicle
• Installing motion activated security lighting or CCTV
• Marking your catalytic converter with a commercially-available etching kit or fitting a ‘cat’ clamp or alarm. This can also help police trace the item and prove a theft, helping us bring offenders to justice.
You can find more crime prevention advice on the Avon and Somerset website.