Coventry has seen a huge spike in the theft of catalytic converters – increasing ten-fold in just two years.
The number of reported thefts of the vital car part rocketed to 233 in 2019/20, having been just 23 in 2017/18.
And the most recent tally was also one more than that of neighbouring Birmingham – a city with a population four times that of Coventry.
Thieves target catalytic converters – which converts exhaust emissions into less toxic substances – as they contain precious metals, such as platinum and palladium, and they can sell the part to metal recyclers, receiving up to hundreds of pounds a time.
The figures came from a Freedom of Information request to West Midlands Police and the force believe the increase in thefts is due to two main reason.
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A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We believe the rise is being driven by the increase in the price of the precious metals within the catalytic converters.
“The thefts are also in turn fuelling a second hand market to replace those which have already been stolen.
“Our officers are continuing to work alongside colleagues from around the UK, and with other partner organisations, as part of the national metal theft task force tackling these crimes.”
The force has also offered the following advice to vehicle owners to help prevent the theft of catalytic converters:
- Speak to their manufacturer’s main dealer regarding security products available for their vehicle
- Mark catalytic converters with a uniquely coded security product specifically designed for marking catalytic converters, and display the warning stickers supplied
- Take manufacturers advice, but consider fitting a protection device made specifically to cover the catalytic converter – an example can be found at http://catloc.co.uk/
- Use the vehicle’s alarm or install a Thatcham approved alarm. The alarm should detect and activate if the vehicle is tilted or lifted
- Park the vehicle in such a way that it is difficult to gain access underneath.