There seem to be a spate of catalytic converter thefts happening at the moment in North London. We’ve seen several reports on community website Next Door. We’ve pulled together the essential facts, including some prevention tips.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic converters breakdown harmful compounds and are designed to remove toxins from vehicle emissions. Inside are two ceramic blocks coated with precious metals: platinum, palladium and rhodium. There is value in these metals so that they are a prized item and the theft of a catalytic converter can provide a substantial return to a thief. If your catalytic converter is stolen, you’ll soon know about it because your vehicle will sound different.

What vehicles are being targeted?

Top brands being targeted include Transit/Sprinter vans and other high clearance vehicles, Toyota Prius and Honda (2003 – 2009). So if you own one of these listed, please do take a look at our prevention tips below. Catalytic converters aren’t cheap to replace and can range from £700 – £2000 depending on the make.

What to look out for?

If you see any suspicious people crouching behind cars, go and disturb them (if it is safe). Thieves often double park next to cars and can be seen with car jacks.

Another tell-tale sign is the loud noise the equipment makes removing the catalytic converter. Don’t assume it is builders, go and investigate.

These thieves aren’t work under the cover of darkness but hiding in plain sight, in daylight with many cars and pedestrians around.

Prevention Tips

We’d like to thank both We’d like to thank both Sergeant Leon Christodoulou and PC Jonathan Eldred from Haringey Police for contributing to this list of prevention tips.

1. Understand the issue – Research has identified that taller vehicles, including 4x4s and vans may be more vulnerable as their catalytic converters (CATs) are more accessible. These vehicles often have larger engines and larger CATs also.

2. When away from your home try and park in well-lit busy areas. This may make your vehicle a less attractive target for a criminal as there is greater chance of them being seen and disturbed.

3. Catalytic converter thieves will often target an area over a period of time. Be aware of local media to see if there are reports in your locality.

4. If you can park your vehicle in a garage. This is an extra level of security for a thief to beat if they want to steal your catalytic converter.

5. CAT thieves don’t want to be seen. Effective security lighting could help put off a CAT thief. A range of solar security lights which are great where there is no main power can be found here security lights to help prevent CAT thefts

6. Consider installing a Thatcham approved alarm to your vehicle. Ones that activate if the vehicle is lifted or tilted are particularly effective

7. Fit a catalytic converter anti theft device such as the Armacat. The Armacat is fitted to the catalytic converter using stainless steel collars, high strength dome head bolts and temper proof shear nuts. This product uses an ultra strong 8mm diameter 7×19 stainless steel cable and a high temperature PVC sleeve. An alternative could be the Catloc, this is slightly cheaper in price. The manufacturers claim that the Catloc can be fitted to 99% of at risk vehicles.

8. Consider installing CCTV devices. Modern CCTV has night vision capabilities and can be viewed on smartphones. A system like this will be a major deterrent to a criminal and could cost less than replacing a CAT.

9. The metal shell of your CAT can be marked. If it is removed and the Police seize stolen CATs this may make it easier to return to you as stolen property.

10. Be aware and encourage awareness amongst your community. If you see people working under vehicles be aware they may be attacking the CAT or stealing fuel.

11. Report suspicious activity to the Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations

12. Raise awareness of the issue. Get sharing of this article!

If unfortunately your catalytic converter is stolen, do get in touch about a replacement 020 8807 0668.


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