Police appeal launched after more than 50 catalytic converter thefts across Suffolk in less than a month

PUBLISHED: 10:19 18 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:19 18 February 2014

Police patrolling in London Road North, Lowestoft.

Police patrolling in London Road North, Lowestoft.

Police are seeking help in solving a series of catalytic converter thefts across Suffolk.

Since January 21, there have been 54 reports of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles in the county – and a senior detective is today urging locals to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

People are being asked to assist in becoming the “eyes and ears” of local communities, making note of any suspicious vehicles and people in the area.

Temporary Det Chief Insp Caroline Millar from Suffolk police’s county policing command said: “The theft of catalytic converters is becoming an increasing problem both locally and nationally. With the price of scrap metal on the increase, catalytic converters are a valuable commodity which criminals are targeting and selling on.

“Members of our community safety team, together with local officers from Safer Neighbourhood Teams are helping to spread the word about this type of crime, offering advice and guidance to ensure people do not become victims of crime. Coupled with this catalytic converter marking sessions have also been set up round the county which can help identify it as a stolen item.

“However, I would urge people to become the eyes and ears in local communities to come forward if they notice any suspicious activity or if they have any information where the stolen catalytic converters are being sold on.”

Since October 1 there have been 139 reports of catalytic converter thefts in Suffolk with the majority taking place in rural locations and predominantly in Mid Suffolk.

Rural patrols have been stepped up and owners of vehicles, particularly 4 x 4s and Mercedes Sprinter vans, which are more often targeted due to be being higher off the ground and more accessible are asked to take the following precautions:

■ Private vehicles should be kept in a well-secured garage where possible, and if no garage is available, in a well-lit, public area.

■ Vehicles can be parked in such a way as to make access to the catalytic converter difficult, or parallel with another vehicle if you own one.

■ Commercial vehicles should also be kept in a locked building or compound.

■ Use alarms, lighting and CCTV to deter thieves.

■ Remove items of value from your vehicle whilst unattended and keep it secure at all times.

■ Mark your catalytic converter - etching the part and spraying with heat-resistant paint. Contact your local crime reduction officer on 101 for more information.

Police are keen to hear from anyone who has information about catalytic converter thefts. If you believe a crime is in process you are asked to contact police immediately on 999 otherwise calls should be made to 101.

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