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Suffolk: Police in warning to vehicle owners after more than 50 catalytic converter thefts in four weeks

PUBLISHED: 12:32 18 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:32 18 February 2014

Some 54 reports of catalytic converter thefts were reported to Suffolk Constabulary between January 21 and February 17.

Some 54 reports of catalytic converter thefts were reported to Suffolk Constabulary between January 21 and February 17.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Police are warning vehicle owners after more than 50 thefts of catalytic converters were reported in the last four weeks in Suffolk.

Some 54 reports of catalytic converter thefts were reported to Suffolk Constabulary between January 21 and February 17.

Caroline Millar, temporary detective chief inspector at Suffolk Constabulary’s county policing command, described the spate of thefts as an “increasing problem” both in the county and across the country.

A total of 139 reports of catalytic converter thefts have been made to police in Suffolk since October 1 last year, with the majority taking place in rural locations and mainly in Mid Suffolk.

“With the price of scrap metal on the increase, catalytic converters are a valuable commodity which criminals are targeting and selling on,” Mrs Millar said.

“Members of our community safety team, together with local officers from Safer Neighbourhood Teams are helping to spread the word about this type of crime, offering advice and guidance to ensure people do not become victims of crime.

“Coupled with this catalytic converter marking sessions have also been set up around the county which can help identify it as a stolen item.

“However, I would urge people to become the eyes and ears in local communities to come forward if they notice any suspicious activity or if they have any information where the stolen catalytic converters are being sold on.”

Rural patrols have been stepped up and owners of vehicles, particularly 4x4s and Mercedes Sprinter vans, which are more often targeted due to be being higher off the ground and more accessible are asked to take the following precautions:

Private vehicles should be kept in a well-secured garage where possible, and if no garage is available, in a well-lit, public area.

Vehicles can be parked in such a way as to make access to the catalytic converter difficult, or parallel with another vehicle if you own one.

Commercial vehicles should also be kept in a locked building or compound.

Use alarms, lighting and CCTV to deter thieves.

Remove items of value from your vehicle whilst unattended and keep it secure at all times.

Mark your catalytic converter - etching the part and spraying with heat-resistant paint. Contact your local crime reduction officer on 101 for more information.

Police are keen to hear from anyone who has information about catalytic converter thefts.

If you believe a crime is in process you are asked to contact police immediately on 999 otherwise calls should be made to 101.

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