Catalytic converters: Attempted theft by masked men prompts warning to drivers

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Derek Johnson

A woman from Petersfield has been describing the terrifying moment when she opened her front door, to be confronted by three masked men who were in the process of stealing her car's catalytic converter.

Sue Bruckner says she's still in shock, but wants to share her story to alert others to the dangers.

Mrs Bruckner ran out of her house in the middle of the night after she heard her car being broken into.

Two men in masks had put her car up on a jack, and a third was waiting in a car nearby.

Sue Bruckner

She said: "Then I heard a car revving its engine up there so I went round the car trying to stop them and get the jack.

"And he was just shouting 'back off' at us... various neighbours had come out. He got his jack off and got off down the road."

The thieves had cut into the pipe connected to the catalytic converter, which is what they were after.

The converters contain precious metal. Credit: ITV Meridian

It is there to reduce emissions and contains precious metals that thieves can sell on the black market.

One garage in Bordon says it is seeing more of these sorts of thefts, with vehicles tending to be petrol driven and pre-2015.

Mechanics can build or fit fabricated protective covers to block the thefts.

Barry Lee Parker from BTE Automotive

Barry Lee Parker from BTE Automotive said: "It's just the price of raw materials increases and decreases.

"Covid has played a part in the decrease of manufacturing, so as the decline in availability, the increase in theft comes.

"Potentially get the vehicle booked into your local repair centre, see if fabrication is available or a way of potential thieves entering the vehicle easily."

In a statement Hampshire Police said: "We were called at 1.48am this morning (Tuesday 7 September) to reports of two men attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a car on Moggs Mead in Petersfield.

"The men were disturbed and a third man in a separate vehicle then drove towards the homeowner. Thankfully, she was uninjured.

"Officers responded and searched the local area within six minutes of the call having been received, however the suspects were not located. We will be speaking to the victim in person as part of our enquiries today.

"We haven't received any other similar reports in the local area and have only received one report of a catalytic converter theft in the Petersfield area in the last 30 days.

"All of the suspects were wearing balaclavas and a vehicle with the number plate KB02 is thought to have been involved."