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Warning over catalytic converter thefts
OWNERS of 4x4 vehicles have been urged to take extra precautions and protect their cars, following a spate of catalytic convertor thefts.
North Yorkshire Police have confirmed there have been 13 incidents of the components being stolent from vehicles in the Selby district since Sunday, because the convertors contain precious metal.
Since Sunday, police in Selby have had reports of catalytic convertors, which reduce the amount of pollution emitted by car exhausts, being stolen from vehicles including a Ford Ranger, Land Rovers and a Toyota Hilux, in Sherburn-in-Elmet, Church Fenton, Fairburn and South Milford.
Inspector Richard Abbott said the focus was on large vehicles, mainly 4x4s, because the large gap between the bottom of the vehicle and the ground made it easier for the criminals to remove the components quickly.
Insp Abbott said: “This is a particular spike in crime, we haven’t had this before. It looks like someone specifically targeting the area looking for vehicles with high clearance, getting under them and removing the convertors very quickly.
“We are trying to reduce the places of disposal with Operation Tornado (ensuring scrap dealers inspect ownership documents before buying items), and we’ll be looking to protect individuals’ vehicles by marking them at upcoming events. But we’re also asking people who own these vehicles to consider buying their own protection.”
Insp Abbott said protective cages can be bought for about £100, while the cost of replacing a stolen catalytic convertor could be about £300.
To combat the thefts, police patrols have been stepped up in the areas, and the force is working closely with West Yorkshire Police, who have also seen a spate of thefts from similar vehicles.
Residents across Selby have been urged to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles patrolling residential areas, and police are also working with local neighbourhood watch groups to increase their vigilance.
Insp Abbott said: “If the price of copper goes through the roof, then cable thefts go up, if gold prices rise, gold jewellery thefts increase, and if platinum goes up, it’s this.
“It’s as obvious as seeing a vehicle containing occupants patrolling slowly in the area or seeing someone underneath a vehicle in the hours of darkness, please give us a call.”
Anyone with information on the thefts should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111, or in an emergency, 999.