Theft of Catalytic Converters on the Increase
By Amanda | 06-03-2020
Thieves are targeting vehicles more and more to steal the prized catalytic converters. Here we examine why and make a few suggestions of how to protect your vehicle from criminals
It’s rife and on the rise; catalytic converter theft has increased by 600 per cent in the past year. London is the most targeted area, with over 3,000 incidents reported last year, with Kent, Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire following closely behind.
Catalytic converters were introduced to the UK in 1975 to help control harmful emissions into the atmosphere. By 1993 it became compulsory for all vehicles meet European emissions standards. Without fitting a converter, older vehicles simply can’t comply. So, although the converters are not a legal requirement, they are necessary to ensure many vehicles meet the legal requirements.
For thieves, it is a relatively easy hit, they just crawl under the car, and using specialist-cutting tools, quickly detach the catalytic box from the exhaust pipe. It can take as little as 60 seconds to complete the procedure but often causes wider damage to the vehicle including wires, the exhaust and underneath of the vehicle.
Usually the thieves work in pairs or gangs, targeting busy medium to long stay car parks but not always. We recently had one of our leased vehicles targeted on a busy street in the centre of London in broad daylight, illustrating just how brazen these criminals can be. We have also had one removed from a van we gift to the local children’s hospice, taken from right outside the hospice itself; it seems they have no morals either.
Stealing catalytic converters is a lucrative business; each one contains small amounts of platinum, palladium, and rhodium, precious metals that can be sold as scrap for anything between £35 and £500 depending upon the vehicle. But it will cost you between £1500 and £3000 to replace the converter itself and further repair costs to fix whatever other damage has been caused.
The vehicles most targeted are hybrids, SUVs and vans such as the Mercedes Sprinter and the VW Crafters. The hybrids because they are used lest frequently and therefore the metals will have less corrosion on them, and SUVs and vans, because they have more ground clearance and are therefore more accessible to the thieves.
Once the converter has been removed most vehicles are un-driveable. Symptoms include a loud exhaust and dark smoke emitting from the exhaust system. However, in some vehicles detection is harder; some can be driven and the driver might not realise that the part has been stolen. Since the converters job is to reduce emissions, driving without the converter will produce harmful gases above the permitted standard. This is illegal and a fineable offence of up to £1000.
Police have turned their attention to the metal recyclers and scrap metal merchants who are enabling this growing crime. More inspections and accountability is being introduced but there is still a long way to go to reduce this increasing crime.
So what can you do to minimise the risk? No system is fool proof but there are deterrents that will help protect your vehicle.
- Mark your catalytic box with a serial number or mark that makes your vehicle traceable
- Park smarter- when parking in a public space park in between and facing other cars to make access more difficult, in well lit areas, near public entrances. When at home park in the garage if you have one.
- Protect your converter with a covering such as wire cage or antitheft device such as a Catloc or a CatClamp(at an average cost of about £200)
- Install CCTV cameras and an alarm onto your vehicle
If you've enjoyed this article please help us share it with the rest of the world - Thank you
- Our First Business Award
- Win a VIP Family Day out to Lightwater Valley
- New Manager for Leeds Depot
- New Opening Times
- Special Deals throughout Summer
- New Curtain Side Luton Vehicles On Fleet this week
- We Launch our New Company Film
- ISO 9001:2015 The Revised Quality Management Systems Standard
- Change in Car Tax is imminent
- Helping Harrogate Bloom
- Mowbray School Outing
- Winner of the VIP Family Day to Lightwater Valley
- Eclipse Energy Efficiency
- Brian walks the length of the country in record time
- 64 Year Old Brian’s EpicWalk
- Proud Sponsors of the Huddersfield Giant
- Bus Gates now operating in Huddersfield
- Arrow Talks to Students at School Careers Fair
- Huddersfield Giants Kit Promotional Video
- Try one of our NEW Petrol Hybrids
- Dealing with Road Rage
- White Rose Awards
- Testing Your Eyes Can Save Your Life
- Driving in Fog
- Driver Fatigue: The Facts
- Harriers Play Host
- Flat Cap Friday Success
- Tax Discs to be Phased Out
- Sheffield Branch Opening Soon
- Aquaforce Charity Football Match
- Winner of the Yorkshire Show Business Card Draw
- New Custom Made Recovery Trucks
- Hull Depot wins Best Vehicle Hire 2017
- Examiner Business Awards 2017
- Saint Michael's Hospice Thanks Knaresborough
- Welcome to our first ever female mechanic
- 1988 - 2018
- Increase in Congestion Charge PCN
- What Brexit Could Mean for Fleet Managers
- Meet our MD James Hill
- What can we expect from electric vehicles in the future?
- Celebrating our Women
- Winners of the Family Business of the Year for the Yorkshire and Humber at the FSB Awards 2018
- A Paperless Future
- The rise of the new van owner
- The New Diesel Tax Changes Explained
- #SuperEorl Competition: Which Cartoon Character or Super Hero does Big Eorl most resemble and why?
- Drivers' worst habits according to van owners
- Family Ties Traced to 1938 between Arrow Self Drive and Crowther & Shaw
- Support for Leeds Beckett Charity Ride
- What is AdBlue?
- Business Of the Year
- The Great Yorkshire Show Birthday Celebrations
- Shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
- Wakefield Depot raise funds for Wakefield Hospice
- Arrow Self Drive Becomes 100% Family owned
- A Visit to Sheffield Children's Hospital
- My Passion: By our MD James Hill
- At Your Service!
- Arrow Self Drive Continual Training & Staff Development
- The New London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ): 2 months to go
- Leeds Clean Air Zone: 11 months to go
- AdBlue: A guide for fleet managers
- Competition winners enjoy Day as A Super League player with the Giants
- CSR and Sales
- Our New Paperless Rental System: Saving one Tree at a Time
- Reducing our Carbon Footprint
- How Well Does Your Fleet reflect Your Brand?
- Eaton Smith: Business of the year: Looking Back
- Moving to Uni? How safe is your precious cargo?
- PROMOTING PENSIONERS AT WORK
- Dragon Boat Teams Raise £3k for Childrens Hospice
- An Elf of a Surprise for 8-year old Lola
- Drug Driving and the Threat to your Business
- Keeping you on the road 24/7: Breakdown and Recovery
- Start as you mean to go on! Awards shortlist news heralds a New year
- Keeping you on the road 24/7: Mobile service units at your convenience
- Tyler Scoops Top Apprentice Award at Kirklees College
- Sheffield New Site Move
- Theft of Catalytic Converters on the Increase
- COVID-19 Internal procedures to help keep us all safe
- COVID-19: Update on our status
- Barnsley Depot Update
- Bradford Depot Update
- Hull Depot Update
- Knaresborough Depot Update
- Covid 19 Update - Face Coverings
- We Are Open - Government Announcement 31st October
- Christmas Opening Times