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Catalytic converter theft suspects in custody thanks to York resident’s vigilance

Last modified: 8 March 2021 at 11:44am

Two men have been arrested in connection with catalytic converter theft in York this morning.

At 3am today, a member of the public called North Yorkshire Police reporting suspicious activity in the Dringhouses area of the city.

Officers responded immediately, and a short time later located a red Honda Civic near Wetherby. The car was stopped and searched, and a catalytic converter and a number of tools were found in the boot.

A Honda Civic stopped in connection with catalytic converter theft in York

A catalytic converter in the boot of car stopped by police

Two men inside, aged 29 and 34, were arrested on suspicion of theft and vehicle interference. They remain in custody at this time. The vehicle was seized for forensic examination.

Earlier this year, North Yorkshire Police launched an operation to clamp down on catalytic converter thefts in York, after an increase in these incidents. High prices for precious metals and the popularity of hybrid vehicles are believed to be two of the factors behind the increase.

At the time, Sgt Laura Cromwell said: “While overall vehicle crime in York is low, catalytic converter theft is an increasingly common crime in our area. That’s why we’ve increased patrols, and are urging residents to take steps to protect their vehicles. If you notice suspicious activity around vehicles, contact the police – if you have information, call 101, and if a crime is in progress, call 999 immediately.”

Since the launch of the operation, high-visibility, proactive patrols, linked to ANPR and police intelligence, have make it increasingly difficult for criminals to operate in the city undetected.

Meanwhile, motorists are being urged to continue taking extra precautions to protect their vehicles:

  • Park your car in a locked garage where possible, or a well-lit and populated area
  • Park close to fences, walls or a kerb, or alongside other vehicles, to make theft more difficult. Avoid parking half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
  • If you are responsible for a fleet of vehicles, park the low-clearance vehicles to block the high-clearance vehicles and obstruct access underneath
  • Ask your local garage about security measures such as a cage device to lock around the converter, a tilt sensor to activate an alarm if the vehicle is jacked up, or equipment to etch a serial number on the converter itself.
  • If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the police. If a crime is in progress, dial 999. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations.

Officers are working closely with local authorities, and posters warning about catalytic converter theft are displayed at locations across the city. In addition, scrap metal dealers in the region are being asked to be on the lookout for people attempting to sell on catalytic converters, and pass any information to the police.

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