EAST RIDING COUNCIL and Humberside Police are working together to tackle a growing new crime problem in the region – the theft of catalytic converters.
The presence of four precious metals (gold, platinum, palladium and rhodium) that are used to manufacture the catalytic converter, has led to thieves targeting the components. Each stolen catalytic converter can be sold to a scrap metal dealer from between £50 and £200 depending on the size. Thieves have stolen over 200 of them from vans or HGVs over the past 12 months.
The theft of the catalytic converter effectively disables the vehicle until a replacement is fitted. This can have a major impact for businesses if their vehicles are out of use for a period of time. Vehicles with high ground clearance are most vulnerable to this type of theft.
The council has now purchased a number of permanent marking kits especially for catalytic converters to give them a unique identity. Each mark comprises a logo linked to an international security register, a unique seven-digit code and a 24-hour telephone number. Once the mark has been applied, the unique code is recorded with vehicle and owner details on the register and can be verified immediately at any time.
Any business which operates vehicles that have catalytic converters and is based in the East Riding is invited to apply to the council for a supply of free catalytic converter marking kits by simply sending a short email to firstname.lastname@example.org giving the name and address and contact telephone number of their business and how many vehicles with catalytic converters that they use.
Once the application is received, the council, with Humberside Police, will contact the business through a visit and be provided with tips on how to make their premises and/or vehicle(s) more secure. Priority will be given to small businesses.
Once fitted, details of unique codes will be retained by Humberside Police. Thieves stealing a marked and registered converter will run a higher risk of being apprehended and charged.
Councillor Jackie Cracknell, from the East Riding Council, said the authority itself has suffered as a result of these thefts: “Even the council itself has not been immune to it, with a number of vehicles being put out of action costing taxpayers’ money to repair and affecting service delivery. The catalytic converter marking kits are a way for the council and Humberside Police to fight back and we would encourage businesses to apply for these free kits.”
Humberside Police recommends that businesses review their security and contact them on 101 if they need any assistance from the local policing teams. Some areas might want to consider setting up a collaboration network where there is a high volume of businesses which could act as a business neighbourhood watch.
This video on YouTube shows how the marking system works: