Police Warn about Catalytic Converter Thefts in the Bournemouth area

In recent years, catalytic converter theft has risen dramatically. According to the AA Insurance claims have gone up from 32 in 2018 to 393 in 2019. It is believed that this is driven by the value of the metals inside. While platinum prices have remained fairly stable, there has been a sharp increase in the value of palladium. 

Thieves simply cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked car and sell them on to scrap metal dealers.

  • Taller vehicles (4x4s) are particularly vulnerable as the converters are more accessible. Because they tend to have larger engines, they contain more of the precious metals too.
  • Once an unmarked converter has been removed from a vehicle it’s quite difficult to match it to that vehicle as there aren’t any distinguishing marks.

(Source the AA)

Watch the thieves in action

Reduce risk

To reduce the risk of theft of your car’s catalytic converter:

Did you know a thief can take the catalytic converter from your car in a matter of minutes and leave you to foot the bill?

Cars which are often targeted are those with higher chassis, such as a 4×4 or an SUV, however, other cars can still be targeted.

To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen, you should:

  • Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn’t an option, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area
  • Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make the theft more difficult
  • Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
  • If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing you bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it
  • If there is a fleet of vehicles, park the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles. This will obstruct access underneath
  • If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
  • Alternatively, you can also etch a serial number on the converter
  • You can even purchase a ‘cage clamp’ which is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove
  • Speak to your dealership about the possibility of adding a tilt sensor that will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter  
  • If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations