Officers have warned hybrid car owners to be wary of catalytic converter thieves following a small increase in reports in Rushcliffe.
The warning comes after two more incidents in Rushcliffe where thieves targeted two Toyota Yaris’.
On Wednesday (4 May 2021) a converter was stolen overnight from the vehicle whilst parked on the driveway in Medina Drive in Tollerton, meanwhile there was a second report of a car being targeted on the same evening in Wysall Lane in Repstone.
The victim described a noise from outside their house like a lawn mower being used, but didn’t think anything of it. Officers continue to investigate both incidents.
The force recently launched a dedicated operation in response to the rise in this type of theft.
Investigations under ‘Operation Yachtsman’ will see detectives from CID and intelligence working with neighbourhood and response officers to share information and take an intelligence-driven and targeted approach to clamp down on offenders and target hotspots.
The increase in these thefts is a national, and even an international issue, as the catalytic converters contain two valuable metals – rhodium and palladium – the cost of which increased during 2020 and has recently gone up again.
Hybrid cars are particularly vulnerable because their converters contain a higher concentration of precious metals and are generally less corroded.
It is believed gangs operate looking for cars to target as they can steal the catalytic convertors within minutes by using a few basic tools.
Rushcliffe Inspector Craig Berry said: “We are seeing certain makes and models being targeted. The likes of Honda and Toyota Hybrid vehicles continue to be targeted. We are now looking at crime prevention initiatives to deter the thefts alongside identifying offenders.
“As a force we are absolutely determined to crack down on this issue and track down those responsible.
“Whilst officers are working tirelessly to investigate these offences and we have upped our patrols in targeted locations, I am urging people to be vigilant and if they spot any suspicious vehicles or people in their area to call 999 immediately as this will be treated as a crime in progress.
“These thieves will target cars at any time during the day or night so if you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, please report it. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations. We would urge you to visit the force’s website to find out more how you can prevent your car from being targeted.”
Officers would advise car owners to identify the location of the catalytic converter on the vehicle to then try and take steps to prevent its theft such as:
· Park in well-lit areas
· Park in locked home garage if available
· Put up motion sensor lights near to where you regularly park your car
· Park in CCTV covered area
· Mark converters with individual indestructible sticker or attach devices/locks to the converters
· Fit audible alarm with a tilt sensor or protective cover
Anyone spotting a crime in progress is urged to ring 999. Anyone with any other information is asked to ring 101, or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Find out more about catalytic converter theft on our website: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/advice/prevention/catalyticconverter