Scrap prices blamed for theft

DETECTIVES were today blaming the soaring price of scrap metal after 23 catalytic converters were stolen from a van dealership in Sproughton.

DETECTIVES were today blaming the soaring price of scrap metal after 23 catalytic converters were stolen from a van dealership in Sproughton.

Thieves cut through a fence at Trucks R US in Farthing Road and hacked the devices off vehicles within the compound.

Catalytic converters, which reduce harmful emissions, are desirable to criminals because they are made with precious metals such as Titanium.

The theft, which took place between 5pm on September 12 and 6.30am on September 15, has rendered the vehicles useless until the catalytic converters are replaced, which could cost as much as £60,000.

Detective Inspector David Rutterford, who is leading the investigation, said: “These criminals are organised and have an outlet for the metal. We are suffering a problem with this right across the force and it is driven by the high price of scrap metal.”

We are working with the company to improve security and we are reviewing CCTV footage on the premises.”

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DI Rutterford said criminals sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to get their hands on scrap metal, even risking electrocution by cutting down cables above railway lines.

Last year, Suffolk police launched an operation to crack down on scrap dealers in the county and check they were recording their intakes correctly.

The force is also using the Police Direct messaging service to text scrap metal yards about recent crimes so they can be aware of any thieves trying to sell stolen goods.

But DI Rutterford said: “The metals are difficult to identify because there are a lot of legitimate people out there using scrap dealers. I advise businesses to be vigilant and provide the best security system they can.”

Anyone with information on the Sproughton theft should call Pc Lee Andrews-Pearce at the East Babergh Safer Neighbourhood Team on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Have you noticed an increase in scrap metal thefts? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.