FENLAND: Police launch clampdown on catalytic converter thefts which are rising

PUBLISHED: 17:40 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 08:36 02 June 2010

POLICE have launched a cross-county crackdown to tackle catalytic converter thefts in the Fens – with as many as 10 stolen every night for the expensive metals inside them. Cambridgeshire Police are aiming to secure funding for innovative Smartwater kits

POLICE have launched a cross-county crackdown to tackle catalytic converter thefts in the Fens - with as many as 10 stolen every night for the expensive metals inside them.

Cambridgeshire Police are aiming to secure funding for innovative Smartwater kits to protect vehicles, while Norfolk Police step up patrols in a number of villages which have been hit by the crime wave.

Four-by-four vehicles and people carriers have been targeted because the clearance between the ground and underneath the vehicle is greater than on other types of cars.

Catalytic converters, which reduce a car's toxic emissions, contain a few grams of precious metals - platinum, palladium and rhodium. The international price of these metals has risen by 67 per cent, 200 per cent and 600 per cent respectively during the past two years.

Police research suggests that a competent thief can remove a catalytic converter in about six minutes.

Det Insp Martin Brunning said that, in the Wisbech area in the past fortnight, as many as 10 catalytic converters are reported stolen every night.

He said: "Favoured vehicles seem to be Land Rover Freelander vehicles, but Transits and other 4x4 vehicles are being targeted.

"While officers are doing all they can to prevent thefts and identify the thieves, vehicle owners must be vigilant about this crime."

Sgt Dave Bax said: "We are bidding for extra funding for more Smartwater kits to protect cars. Catalytic converter crime is not unusual for Wisbech."

In Norfolk, there have been reports of thefts from Upwell, Outwell, Emneth and West Walton. Patrols have been stepped up in these areas.

INFORMATION: Cambridgeshire Police can be contacted on 0845 456 4564 and Norfolk Police can be contacted on 0845 456 4567. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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