Thefts of catalytic converters soar

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
·1-min read

Motorists are being urged to protect their vehicles as thefts of catalytic converters have soared during the pandemic.

Insurer Ageas said the crime accounted for 30% of theft from private vehicle claims it received during the first three months of the year, up from 20% between October and December 2019.

Catalytic converters are part of a car’s exhaust system, helping reduce harmful emissions.

They contain a honeycomb coated with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, which makes them attractive to thieves who steal the devices from parked cars and sell them on.

Rhodium’s value has increased more than three-fold since March 2020, reaching record highs earlier this year.

Theft victims often only realise they have been targeted when they hear loud noises from their exhaust.

Replacement catalytic converters cost up to £1,000.

Ageas claims director Robin Challand said: “While catalytic converters are just one component of a car, their theft can often result in a driver’s car being written off, which is the last thing we want for our customers.

“We hope that by shining a spotlight on this type of crime, we can arm motorists with the information they need to protect their vehicles.”

RAC spokesman Simon Williams commented: “We’d strongly recommend motorists get in the habit of taking extra precautions to guard against this type of crime.

“Generally-speaking, most car crime takes place at night, so it makes sense to park a vehicle in a well-lit and residential location, or ideally in a garage if available.

“When away from home, look for car parks that have security patrols and are covered by CCTV.”