Car and van owners are being urged to be vigilant following a series of thefts of catalytic converters in Peterborough.
The systems were stolen from vehicles in car parks at Peterborough City Hospital and elsewhere in the city. Toyotas in particular are being targeted due to the high value metals in their converters.
Between Monday, June 17, and Thursday, June 20, four systems were stolen from the hospital car park and a further system was stolen elsewhere.
Officers are working with scrap metal dealers in a bid to trace the offenders.
Detective Sergeant Hayley Carter said: “We would urge anyone with any information about these thefts, or if they see anyone acting suspiciously around car parks where vans are parked, to call police.
“A catalytic converter can be stolen in a matter of seconds and is worth a few hundred pounds in scrap value, but the cost to your business can run into the thousands, including repairs and business disruption.
“Vehicles with a high ground clearance, such as delivery vans and 4x4 vehicles, are particularly vulnerable.”
Motorists can take the following precautions to help prevent catalytic converter theft:
· If you can, park your vehicle in a locked garage. If this is not possible, park in a busy, well-lit area as close to your property as possible. Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make theft more difficult.
· Invest in a catalytic converter lock, which can be fitted retrospectively and physically locks the converter to the vehicle, thereby preventing a quick and easy removal. Contact your local Toyota/Honda dealer for more information.
If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.
· Mark your catalytic converter with a marking and registration system – some examples are: http://www.retainagroup.com/theisr.html, https://www.selectamark.co.uk/security-marking/cat-marking-kit and https://www.trace-in-metal.com/products/catalytic-converter-protection.
This will not protect against theft, but will act as a deterrent and assist in returning property and help bring offenders to justice.
If you park on your driveway then consider purchasing a video doorbell – www.ring.com and/or a driveway alarm that will alert you to suspicious activity.
Report any suspicious activity both at home and in public car parks. Recent thefts have occurred during daylight hours and in public areas.
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.