A man who left his vehicle in an East Midlands Airport car park says security needs to be stepped up after his catalytic converter was stolen.Derek Tonkin, 69, came back from a holiday in Spain with his wife and family and said when he got into his Toyota Auris, he was unable to drive it away.Mr Tonkin, who is retired and lives in Bestwood Village, said when the AA arrived at the airport, one of its team members quickly established that the Toyota's catalytic converter had been taken by brazen crooks.
East Midlands Airport has apologised to their customers whose cars have been targeted and Leicestershire Police say officers continue to carry out patrols in the car parks and monitor the area. Derek Tonkin said: "We first parked up at the airport at 4.30am on October 20 for an early flight, and so someone has done this between then and 3pm on October 27.
"I was parked in the Mid Stay 3 car park and as I was pulling in, I saw that it had one of the Park Mark safety certificates on it, so to come back and find this was surprising.
"I'm wanting some answers now on why I paid a premium to park in a supposedly safe and secure car park and yet this has happened."Park Mark is an award given to parking facilities after a risk assessment has been conducted by the police, with over 5,000 car parks holding this award throughout the UK.
Award holders include car parks in shopping centres, hospitals and hotels.Mr Tonkin said he thought the way East Midlands Airport communicates with passengers needed to improve, given that he says he nearly missed Leicestershire Police turning up to investigate.He said: "I had alerted the airport to what had happened but the AA came and they were just about to tow me away when the police came.
"Nobody had told me at all that the police were on their way and they had come to take an official report from me. If we had left any earlier I'd have missed that chance and we might not have been able to make a proper criminal report about this."Then I get home to issue a complaint form, because you can't find any numbers to ring. But after I issued that I saw that it can take up to 30 days to respond to it and I just can't see why it should be that long with something like this and I'm angry about it."Mr Tonkin says that he couldn't see any CCTV at the airport car park he was in and that if there was any, it needs to be made more visible to act as a "deterrent" to criminals.
But he added: "That probably won't be enough on it's own because these people have their faces totally covered when they're doing it.
"If people are paying to leave their cars in a secure facility, the airport should be putting on regular foot patrols around all of them. If the criminals got wind that that was happening, then they would surely stop."An East Midlands Airport spokesperson said: "In recent weeks, a number of cars parked across the airport estate have had catalytic converters stolen.
"We apologise to our customers whose cars have been targeted by those responsible and we are taking all steps possible to keep vehicles safe."We continue to collaborate with Leicester Police who are leading the response to clamp down on this criminal activity which includes increased patrols and added security measures."Leicestershire Police, which covers East Midlands Airport, confirmed it had received the report into the theft of Mr Tonkin's catalytic converter.
The force also said it had received several reports about similar thefts at the airport in recent weeks.Inspector Stuart Wood said: “We are aware of reports of catalytic convertors which have been stolen from vehicles parked at East Midlands Airport in recent weeks.
Officers continue to carry out patrols in the car parks and monitor the area.
"Please continue to report any offences to us and any information or concerns to us as we continue to investigate these reports."