Drivers are being warned to stay alert as thefts of catalytic converters are still on the rise - including in Glossop.
A catalytic converter is a device on vehicle exhausts that reduces the toxic gases and pollutants. Precious metals must be used because the converters have to work efficiently enough to meet emissions standards. They are being stolen because of the value of these precious metals and thefts have been gradually increasing over the year.
The thefts have been from vehicles usually parked in large car parks and across the county, including in Glossop. Although the two most recent thefts took place in Derby earlier this week.
A police chief says there has been nearly 200 thefts in the past year in Derbyshire and is urging people to guard against this offence in order to help them avoid becoming another victim.
Detective Chief Inspector Harry Rai, of Derbyshire police, said: "These types of offences are a national issue and in Derbyshire alone over the last 12 months we have seen 180 reported offences.
"I want to reassure the residents of Derbyshire that these offences are being investigated robustly and we are working with neighbouring forces and our partners to bring those responsible to justice.
"I urge vehicle owners to be cautious and to protect their vehicles. Please review your home security and where you park your vehicle, let’s make it as difficult as possible for these individuals to commit this type of crime.
"The residents of Derbyshire can also assist in preventing this type of crime by reporting anyone acting suspiciously around a vehicle to us."
Police have issued the following steps that motorists can take to reduce their chance of becoming a victim:
- If possible, park in a garage or in a position where it would be difficult to access the underside of the vehicle near the exhaust.
- Consider marking the catalytic converter with a serial number to identify it, and register it on sites such as Immobilise.
- Consider installing protective coverings over the converter, but seek advice from a professional as different makes offer different types which are safe. This may not prevent it from being stolen, but would make it more difficult and slow down the process.
- Install alarms and CCTV.
- Good quality lighting near to your vehicle will improve natural surveillance and can act as a deterrent.
- If you see anyone acting suspicious/appearing to be working on a car in a public car park, report it to police.
The cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as the catalytic converter is used less frequently. The metals they use are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more.
Detective Chief Inspector Rai continued: “Obviously there is an end participant in the theft of catalytic converters and we will be liaising with dealers to check the legality of their operating.
“Dealers in the metal trade can assist in letting the police know if they are offered a catalytic converter.”
Anyone who has any information about a crime or has seen suspicious activity is asked to contact police through one of the following methods:
• Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
• Twitter – direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact
• Website – complete the online contact form at www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us
• Phone – call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111