Huge rise in catalytic converter thefts

A catalytic converter being removed from an SUV carImage copyright Getty Images

There has been an enormous rise in catalytic converters being stolen from vehicles in 2019, police in London say.

For the primary six months of 2019, the variety of thefts of catalytic converters jumped to 2,894, in comparison with 1,674 thefts for all of 2018.

In a car’s exhaust system, catalytic converters filter pollution and switch them into much less dangerous substances.

In a video seen by the BBC, a legal gang stole a catalytic converter in underneath three minutes in broad daylight.

The costs of sure valuable metals have skyrocketed in the final 18 months – palladium is now value £1,300/oz, whereas rhodium goes for £4,000/oz, in line with FJ Church and Sons, a specialist metals service provider that can be the UK’s largest specialist in recycling catalytic converters.

The police urged car homeowners “to be vigilant” and contemplate taking security measures to guard their vehicles.

How the theft works

A catalytic converter is positioned in a field on the exhaust pipe underneath a car. In order to steal it, thieves slide underneath the car and use high-powered slicing instruments to detach the field from the pipes round it.

Although there are 10,000 various kinds of converters, the vehicles which can be most frequently focused are hybrid autos.

Since hybrid vehicles have two energy sources – electrical and petrol or diesel – the catalytic converter is used much less regularly to course of pollution. The metals are much less prone to corrode, which means they’re value extra and thus enticing to thieves.

Precious metals should be used as a result of the converters must work effectively sufficient to satisfy carbon emissions requirements.

What can we do about it?

The police has suggested that car homeowners contemplate taking the next security measures:

  • Mark catalytic converters with a serial quantity to make it distinctive
  • Place a protecting overlaying over the catalytic converter
  • Install CCTV and alarms
  • Park autos in order to stop entry beneath

Carmaker Toyota could be very involved concerning the thefts, and says it’s “doing all [it] can” to assist its clients who’ve been victims of crime.

Besides consulting with the police and providing clients security suggestions, Toyota has developed “Catloc”, a tool which makes it tougher for thieves to detach the catalytic converter from the underside of the car.

“Although ‘cat theft’ is not new, or limited to Toyota products, it has always been comparatively rare; however, the recent rise in the value of such parts for recycling has meant that police forces have seen a very significant rise in these offences in the last few months,” stated a Toyota spokesman.

Toyota doesn’t become profitable when changing stolen catalytic converters in vehicles, and additionally it is bearing the fee to low cost the Catloc system for its clients, whereas it researches extra anti-theft applied sciences, the BBC understands.

Honda has a special tackle the matter – it says that Honda Accord and Jazz fashions from 2008 onwards include a tray underneath the car to make it tougher for thieves to get on the catalytic converter.

And in car fashions from 2015 onwards, the catalytic converter has been positioned throughout the engine bay, so a thief would want to disassemble the car to get at it.

Cracking down on scrap metallic yards

Dafydd Dylan, industrial supervisor of the catalytic converters division at FJ Church and Sons, instructed the BBC that his agency is continually receiving calls from members of the general public asking how a lot they might get in the event that they have been to promote catalytic converters from car fashions reminiscent of Totoya Prius, Honda Accord and Honda Jazz.

“We do what we can to discourage it – we don’t purchase any units from these models unless they come from a reputable dealer,” he stated.

He added that there have been additionally methods to inform if suppliers have been attempting to promote stolen items: “When we get a packet, often there will probably be a spread of low-end and high-end catalytic converters in it.

“We have refused to work with some suppliers for sure packets containing a disproportionate quantity of high-grade scrap converters.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Toyota says it’s attempting to assist its clients whereas consulting with the police to enhance anti-theft measures

However, though it has been unlawful to pay money for scrap metallic since 2013, he says there are some sellers who pays money for catalytic converters, which tempts the thieves.

“The police must begin to put folks in jail for paying money for scrap metallic – as quickly as they do this, the commerce would decelerate and cease,” he stated.

The British Metals Recycling Association agrees: “It is unlikely that any stolen catalytic converters will enter a BMRA member yard as a consequence of ‘know your buyer’ checks.

“However, there will be yards that operate illegally, willingly take stolen material and pay cash for it. There will also be no record of the transaction. This is due to the lack of enforcement of the Scrap Metals Dealers Act 2013 and its complementary legislation in Scotland, The Air Weapons Licensing Act 2015.”