Appeal for Members of the Public to Report Any Suspicious Circumstances Following Further Catalytic Converter Thefts in North Devon
An alert was created on 25th June warning of two catalytic converter thefts which occurred on 22nd June in Barnstaple and Torrington. Unfortunately, since then seven more crimes have taken place. Five of those happened overnight on 8-9th July in Bideford, Instow and Fremington.
Police are requesting assistance from the public while they work to identify the offenders. Please report any suspicious activity as soon as possible. The sound of power tools being used at night or persons acting suspiciously around a vehicle, are circumstances we would like to know about. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Please note as much as you can about the person or the vehicle involved and report by calling 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you believe you are witnessing a crime in progress, please call 999.
While overall offence levels in the force area remain low, we strive to lower them further. Members of the public are the eyes and ears of our communities and your vigilance and assistance can help us to achieve that goal.
Catalytic converters are intricate pieces of engineering and given the cost of expensive metal components, their replacement is very costly. This can be compounded by the fact that many vehicles have more than one converter installed. There is no fool-proof way to protect your car from this kind of damage, but there are some precautions you can take:
Where Possible, Park Defensively
Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn’t an option, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area.
Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the catalytic converter being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make the theft more difficult.
Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter.
If there is a fleet of vehicles, park the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles. This will obstruct access underneath.
If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars. With other vehicles around, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it.
If you park on a driveway consider the use of a Secured by Design approved driveway alarm to alert you of a potential intruder.
Target Hardening and Property Marking
Secured by Design's Security Advice Guide on this specific type of crime (attached) offers a link to a cage device by Catloc, which can be fitted to make the converter more difficult to remove.
Marking a converter with a unique reference will help the police identify the owner should it be located after being stolen. This will not protect against theft but does assist in returning property and bringing offenders to justice. Any additions or alterations may affect your warranty or guarantee for the vehicle so it is advised you contact your dealer first. Purpose made commercial property marking products are available which will withstand the high temperatures reached on the surface of a converter.
If you have gone to the trouble of marking your property, it is important to utilise the accompanying signage advertising that such measures have been taken as this may have some deterrent value. Ensure that any other security measures are highlighted such as ‘CCTV in operation’ and set rules with instructions such as ‘Private Property Keep Out’.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via email@example.com or by calling 101 quoting the respective crime number.
Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or reporting online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org