Police are advising motorists to choose where they park their vehicles carefully following an increase in catalytic converter thefts.
West Mercia Police say the number of thefts are becoming an international concern with forces across the world reporting a recent increase in reported thefts as the value of the precious metals they contain rise.
Inspector 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 to please report any suspicious activity around parked vehicles that you may see or have recorded on mobile devices, CCTV or in-vehicle cameras.
“Some of these thefts are happening in broad daylight and in public areas. I am asking the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police. This may include groups ‘jacking’ up a vehicle and working under them using only a battery angle grinder.”
How to protect your 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