Warning to Toyota and Honda drivers after rise in catalytic converter thefts

Parts from a catalytic converter on the floor
Hertfordshire Police are offering free security marking for catalytic converters Credit: ITV News

Theft of catalytic converters has risen by more than 50% in Hertfordshire, the county's police force has revealed.

In the six months to March 2021 there were over 700 offences recorded, compared to 454 over the same period the year before.

The force warned that hybrid Toyota and Honda cars were being targeted more than other models, and have encouraged owners to take action to make their vehicles more secure.

Inspector Nicola Dean said: "I would advise owners these types of vehicles to get their catalytic converters security marked and invest in a catloc device to deter thieves."

Hertfordshire Police have teamed up with garages in the county to offer free security marking for catalytic converters, which are valuable because of the metals used to make them.

Further information about preventing catalytic converter theft and the garages taking part can be found on the force's website.

Hertfordshire Police also said they had seen a rise theft from motor vehicles, while cars with keyless entry continue to be targeted.

Inspector Dean added: "We have also had an increase in the theft of keyless entry vehicles, with thieves using electronic devices to boost the signal from the vehicle’s keyless fob.

"If the key is close enough to the vehicle, even if it is inside the home, the device can detect the fob signal and use it to open and start it.

"There are a number of steps you can take to prevent this but one of the most effective deterrents is an old-fashioned steering wheel lock."

Advice for preventing cars being stolen:

  • Never hand vehicle keys over to a third party or leave the vehicle unattended at a valet parking, car wash or other parking places, where criminals can gain access to the vehicle and code a key electronically.  

  • Consider fitting an ‘OBD safe’, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s on board diagnostic (OBD) port, in the vehicle cabin. This prevents criminals using software to code a key from the vehicle.   

  • Consider fitting a dual band tracking device that works on VHF/UHF and GPS, to make it more difficult for the tracking signal being blocked. 

  • Criminals can also employ remote/keyless entry jamming equipment so make sure your car is locked by trying the door before leaving it.

  • Ensure that ‘home’ on your vehicle ‘SatNav’ is shown as the post code of your local police station and not your actual home address. 

  • Use an approved steering wheel lock and never leave your vehicle unlocked – even for a moment