Police warning after series of catalytic converter thefts in Wiltshire

Parts from a catalytic converter on the floor
Most of the thefts happened outside people's homes overnight Credit: Wiltshire Police

People are being urged to lock their cars in garages at night amid a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Police say the most targeted areas are east and south east of the county, with six people having their cars’ catalytic converters stolen since the start of April.

There was one report in Marlborough, one in Pewsey, two in Collingbourne Kingston, one in Collingbourne Ducis and one in Ludgershall.

They say most of the thefts took place overnight while people's cars were parked outside their homes.

The police believe the thefts are not isolated.

PCSO Pippa Brewer said: "It appears that all these incidents were linked and we are dealing with either one suspect or a group of suspects who are targeting vehicles in this part of Wiltshire.

"We know that this type of crime is hugely frustrating and inconvenient for victims, as well as the financial loss that they are likely to endure."

Wiltshire Police have issued crime prevention advice to help stop others falling victim to catalytic converter theft.

They have urged anyone who witnesses what they think is a catalytic converter theft to report it by calling 101 and quoting the car registration number or calling 999 if a crime is in progress.

How to prevent your car's catalytic converter being stolen?

According to Wiltshire Police, you should park your car in a locked garage where possible.

If you do not have access to a garage, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area, close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb.

You should also avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter.

The force also said a local garage can help you to weld the bolts of the catalytic converter to make it more difficult to remove, and etch a serial number on the converter.

You can purchase a ‘cage clamp’ which is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove.

What are catalytic converters and why are they at risk of theft?

Catalytic converters are devices fitted to vehicle exhausts underneath certain makes of car that reduce harmful gas emissions.

They are often targeted by thieves as they contain valuable metals and can be removed very easily - in less than a minute.

Thieves usually sell stolen converters to scrap yards, online, or ship them out of the country.

According to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) a surge in the price of precious metals saw theft of catalytic converters increase in the last year.

Hybrid vehicles with converters made of more valuable metals are targeted most often.