DRIVERS are being warned by West Mercia Police to be on their guard against thieves and organised gangs stealing catalytic converters from vehicles.
There is also international concern as forces across the world have reported recent increases in the crime.
The spike is thought to have been caused by a rise in the value of precious metals found in the converters.
The crime leaves drivers with a hefty bill to have the devices replaced.
Insp Andy Tanner said: “Thieves tend to target vehicles such as vans and 4x4s that have a higher ground clearance making the converters more easily accessible. However, all types of vehicles are vulnerable.
“The illegal market for the metals that the converters contain is strong and each converter can make a thief hundreds of pounds, but take only a few minutes to remove from a vehicle and can cost thousands to replace.
“We are actively investigating several cases and would ask people to please take a few steps to reduce the chances of their vehicle being targeted.
“One of those steps is for people to report any suspicious activity around parked vehicles they see or have recorded on mobile devices, CCTV or in-vehicle cameras.”
And West Mercia Police has issued the following advice for motorists to help them protect their vehicle –
- Keep your vehicle in a garage if you can
- If you park it on a driveway, install motion activated lighting
- Otherwise, park in a well-lit, populated area
- Forensic security marking kits are available to mark your catalytic converter
- Locks are also available that can be fitted to your converter
- Use high visibility signage to deter thieves
For crimes in progress call 999. For non-emergencies report online at www.westmercia.police.uk/report
Speak to your Safer Neighbourhood Team and for more information, visit www.westmercia.police.uk