Catalytic converter thefts more than double since last year

PUBLISHED: 07:30 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:55 21 September 2020

Thefts of catalytic converters in Suffolk have more than doubled since last year Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Thefts of catalytic converters in Suffolk have more than doubled since last year Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Kinek00 (Kinek00 (Photographer) - [None]

Thefts of catalytic converters in Suffolk have more than doubled since last year, new figures have revealed.

The statistics, obtained through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by this newspaper, show a sharp increase in the number of thefts, jumping from 68 in 2019 to 161 up to the end of July this year.

The 2020 figures, which included 99 incidents in the first three months of the year, also revealed a vast rise from 2018 – when only 21 catalytic converter thefts were recorded.

Catalytic converters are attractive to thieves because they contain several other metals, including copper, nickel, cerium, iron and manganese.

Small amounts of rhodium are also found within a catalytic converter. Rhodium, like platinum and palladium, is very rare and valuable.

A pipe cutter, or similar, tool is used to cut the catalytic converter from the pipe and offences are most common in residential locations, according to police.

Newmarket, Haverhill, Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds, and Ipswich have been the places hardest hit by thieves.

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Suffolk police said it is aware of the rise and urged communities to be the force’s “eyes and ears”.

Detective Inspector Greg Moore said: “We are aware of a recent increase in thefts of catalytic converters and are addressing this operationally with an on-going plan of action to address the issue.

“I’d urge members of the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity and support us in being the ‘eyes and ears’ of local communities, making note of any suspicious vehicles and people in the area.”

DI Moore added that police forces across the country are seeing similar increases.

“With the price of scrap metal rising, this crime continues to be a national trend with catalytic converters valuable commodities which criminals, some of whom are likely to be part of an organised network, are targeting and selling on,” he said.

“We share intelligence and crime trends between forces to ensure we remain co-ordinated in our response.

“Crucially, I would advise fitting an anti-theft device and get your catalytic converter marked to deter thieves.

“If you notice any suspicious activity or have any information where the stolen catalytic converters are being sold on then please get in touch with police.”

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