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Car thieves are targeting plug-in and self-charging hybrid vehicles as their catalytic converters are in better condition. These vehicle parts are “less corroded” than those in petrol and diesel vehicles which have made them a higher target.
Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker says this is because the catalytic converters in these models are not used as much which protects the expensive metals of the devices.
He said: “Plug-in and self-charging hybrid vehicles are a highly desirable target for thieves as their catalytic converters, which turn the noxious gases in a car’s exhaust system into less harmful substances, are less corroded than those in petrol and diesel vehicles which rely on them more.”
Experts at Tracker have warned that criminals steal catalytic converters as spare parts or for the value of the metals inside.
The parts obtain rhodium, palladium and platinum which can all sell for hefty price tags on the market.
Catalytic converter thefts have dramatically increased with police forces reporting over six times the number of crimes in 2019.
There were almost 13,000 recorded thefts of the devices in 2109 compared to just over 2,000 just one year before.
Mr Wain has revealed that many catalytic converter thefts are the work of “organised gangs” who target the cars for financial payouts
He said the crimes were having a “devastating impact” on victims which are often left with severe consequences.
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Drivers without a catalytic converter are likely to fail their MOT test and could be fined by police officers who catch the tool not fitted as it should be.
However, it can be hard for drivers to work out whether the part has been stolen as it is located underneath the car and away from general view.
Mr Wain said: “Police forces across the UK are committed to tackling the increase in catalytic converter thefts and the organised gangs behind them.
“The consequences of these crimes are having a devasting impact upon the lives of victims, which is why intelligence-led operations are being undertaken and continue to be organised by the police at both a regional and national level.
“Owners of plug-in hybrid cars who take measures to safeguard their catalytic converters, are playing a vital role in aiding forces in tackling this new world corruption.”
Tracker has revealed that drivers can safeguard their vehicles from offenders by taking a series of small precautions.
Firstly, they urge drivers to park their car in a safe spot and well-lit environment which could act as a deterrent for thieves.
They urge drivers to install CCTV cameras around your driveway which could be used to identify any thieves if a crime occurs.
Parking in public areas where CCTV cameras are visible also acts as another deterrent for criminals.
Mr Wain also urged drivers to consider installing an alarm that will activate if the vehicle is lifted or tilted.
He said this would be “particularly effective” while also urging drivers to consider installing a catalytic converter protection device or marking system for extra safety.
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