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Catalytic converter thieves in York


5:10pm 14th November 2011
(Updated 5:11pm 14th November 2011)

North Yorkshire Police are urging vehicle owners to step up their vehicle’s security and are issuing a warning to thieves.

This warning follows an increase in the theft of catalytic converters as the force launches Operation Automatic to tackle the rise.

There have been 58 thefts from both business and domestic vehicles in the last year. The victims include a garage sales forecourt on Malton Road, York when 21 were stolen. In a separate incident, also in York, thieves broke into a secure compound from a supermarket before stealing eight catalytic convertors from the delivery fleet. Thieves have also stolen from private addresses when cars have been on the road or driveways.

As well as targeting the thieves, officers will be visiting scrap metal dealers to reinforce the message that anyone caught dealing in stolen items will be prosecuted.

Officers are asking car owners to take a few precautions to deter potential thieves, such as parking the car in a garage, if you have one, or parking the car in a well lit and visible area. Residents are also being asked to look out for people working under cars in unusual circumstances and report them to the police.

There are kits commercially available which allow owners to uniquely mark the converter with a postcode. Although this will not prevent the item being stolen, it does mean that when the police recover it they will be able to identify the owner.

Detective Chief Inspector Heather Pearson, who is leading Operation Automatic, said:

“The vehicles that thieves target in particular are those with a higher ground clearance such as 4x4s and vans.

“Anyone caught stealing catalytic convertors will be robustly dealt with. We will use all powers at our disposal to bring them to justice.

“Scrap metal dealers can play a vital part in stopping these thefts. If they are offered catalytic converters for sale I urge them to contact the police as soon as possible.

“If you see anyone acting suspiciously around vehicles please contact the police or Crimestoppers immediately with as many details including a description of the person and the registration number of their vehicle."

Anyone who has information about people involved with the theft of catalytic converters should contact North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 24 7. Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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