Catalytic converter thefts more than double in a year

Thefts of catalytic converters have more than doubled in the past year, new research has found.

Jun 21, 2021
By Tony Thompson

Data from 25 police forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland obtained by Which? found incidents of thefts surged by 104 per cent on average, despite national lockdowns in 2020, which saw the majority of people and their cars remaining at home.

A combination of factors, including surging global demand for vehicles and a slump in mining during the pandemic, has meant that the price of precious metals contained within catalytic converters has risen exponentially with a single unit worth as much as £400.

The highest spike in cases was in North Wales, rising from nine in 2019 to 46 in 2020, a jump of 411 per cent. The West Midlands had the highest number of individual cases of theft in 2020 with 1,626, while the City of London had none.

Overall, 5,857 cases occurred across the 25 areas in 2020.

The investigation found evidence that some organised crime gangs were targeting dozens of vehicles each day and that older Toyota and Honda models were particularly at risk.

Which? also found potentially stolen converters being offered for sale on Facebook Marketplace, despite the fact that posting such ads constitutes an offence under the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act.


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